Goals by Gift Motupa and skipper Mario Booysen were cancelled out by Martin Phiri and Justin Shonga as Chipolopolo rescued a vital point on the road in the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Kenya 2018 third round first leg clash.
The homers survived an early scare by the third minute when John Ching’andu almost capitalised on poor defending by the South Africans but his shot from close range went over the bar.
Bafana Bafana battled to contain the fast pace of the Zambians but gradually gained control of the game with the backing of a half-packed stadium.
Motupa was the first to ask questions of Chipolopolo keeper, Toaster Nsabata, after doing well to cut in from the left to unleash a grounder which was parried away to safety by the latter.
Chipolopolo were back in their opponents’ danger area immediately with a quick counter that saw Fackson Kapumbu whip in a dangerous cross that was met by the oncoming Ching’andu but his header was no trouble for South Africa goalie Bruce Bvuma.
The visitors had yet another good chance to break the deadlock in the 30th minute when indecisive defending by the hosts put Ching’andu in a perfect position but was deprived of a shot by Asavela Mbekile.
Motupa finally broke the deadlock on 31 minutes after clumsy goalkeeping by Nsabata who let an easy ball slip out his hands from a corner kick for the ball to land in front of the waiting forward who made no mistake.
Coming into the second stanza, Motupa almost got his brace after being located with a pin point pass by Wiseman Meyiwa but his low shot was brilliantly saved by Nsabata.
Bafana got their second goal which also came from a corner after a scramble in the box saw Booysen lashing onto a loose ball to make it 2-0 to the hosts on 52 minutes.
However, the lead was very much short lived by the South Africans who allowed Chipolopolo to come back into the game.
A lapse in concentration from the Bafana defence saw Phiri make an immediate impact coming off the bench after a good cross from Kapumbu found the Power Dynamos forward who headed home on 58 minutes.
The equaliser could have come immediately after when Shonga almost beat Bvuma from a close header but excellent reflexes from Bvuma kept the hosts ahead.
The sending off of Malepe did not make things any easier for Bafana after the young defender was shown the exit for a second bookable offence.
A corner in the dying minutes of the game which seemed to have been cleared away from danger landed in front of Shonga who unleashed a powerful volley that silenced the thousands of supporters.
“I am disappointed and feel bad for the players. This was a game that we should have won and I believe we were very unlucky. This is certainly not over and we will give them a game in Zambia,” said a disappointed Bafana Bafana coach, Stuart Baxter.
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