By Melusi Mlotsa | 2019-09-11
(Aggregate score 2-1 in favour of Djibouti)
SOCCER - SIHLANGU Semnikati have crashed out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers after playing to a goalless draw against Djibouti at Mavuso Sports Centre yesterday.
It's a historic moment for the lowly rated country as they have progressed to the next stage of the tournament. On the other hand, it was unbelievable for the local side; failing to beat a team they once hammered 8-0 in 2015.
Coming to the match, Sihlangu failed to click especially in the first half where they created a few chances which they failed to convert.
In the 10th minute, Sabelo 'Sawa' Gamedze’s free kick at the edge of the box was easily saved by Djibouti goalkeeper Innocent Mbonihankunye.
Njabulo ' D4D' Ndlovu’s shot in the 24th minute went wide after receiving a good pass from live-wire Justice Figareido, who had a great game.
Seeing that the local side was piling pressure, the visitors resorted to delaying tactics as the match went to break with both sides locked at 0-0. In the second half, Djibouti introduced Youssof Ahmed for Doula, while Sihlangu coach Papic took out Sisekelo 'Rio' Matsenjwa for Fanelo 'Order' Mamba.
The changes brought life to the local side as they started playing with purpose, pushing numbers forward. ‘Order’ was troublesome in the left flank, while Figareido tried to make things happen from the right flank.
In an effort to get the goal that was elusive, Papic introduced Menzi Sithole for Phinda Dlamini in the 69th minute.
There were three penalty appeals by the home side that were, however, rejected by the referee.
Sihlangu continued to pile more pressure on the opponents but poor decision making, especially in the final third let them down with the visitors continuing with their delaying tactics.
Fanelo Tsabedze came in for ‘D4D’ in the dying minutes of the match and the Royal Leopard player hit the woodwork in the88th minute with the Djibouti goalkeeper well-beaten between the goal-posts. Soon after that, the referee blew his whistle to end the match much to the joy of the Northern side. It was a historic moment for the country that was regarded as minnows. They did it in style and they will return home as heroes. For the local side, pain was written on the faces, especially the supporters who came all the way to cheer their team on.
Eswatini - Sandanezwe Mathabela, Lindo Mkhonta, Sabelo Gamedze, Siboniso Mamba, Siboniso Ndzabandzaba, Siboniso Ngwenya, Justice Figuareido, Njabulo Ndlovu, Sabelo Ndzinisa, Phinda Dlamini, Lindani Matsenjwa.
Djibouti - Innocent Mbonihankuye, Alifaranda Youssouf, Hamzee Abdi, Mohammed Foud, Mahdi, Houssein, Hassan Moussa, Waist Daoud, Douleh Mahamoud, Yonis Moussa, Abass Fouad
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