Africa Cup of Nations last 16, Cairo International Stadium – Egypt 0 South Africa 1 (Lorch 85)
Cairo was stunned into silence as African Cup of Nations hosts Egypt were knocked out by South Africa in the last 16 on Saturday.
Thembinkosi Lorch’s late strike proved the difference in the end, but Stuart Baxter’s side were great value throughout. Mohamed Salahand Co. were shown up badly on the banks of the Nile, as they appeared to underestimate their opponents.
Egypt started well and had the best chance of the first half when Salah saw a shot deflected wide after just four minutes.
Bafana Bafana had scored just one goal and won one game in the group stages, but you wouldn’t have known it. They bravely pushed forward whenever they could, with both Lorch and Percy Tau testing Mohamed El-Shenawy in the Pharos goal and threatening generally; the latter’s free kick from distance was his side’s best moment before the break.
It wasn’t Mahmoud Hassan’s night, and the winger, commonly known as Trezeguet, missed a golden opportunity as the hour mark approached. Salah slipped him through expertly, but he could only find Ronwen Williams’ arms.
South Africa didn’t bow down, and they eventually punished Egypt’s lethargy through Lorch. He kept his cool to slot past El-Shenawy with five minutes remaining, to set up a quarter final with Nigeria.
Magical night for Bafana Bafana. From an early stage in the game, it was clear that Egypt wouldn’t have it their own way. Searching for an eighth AFCON title and a third on home soil, they came into the game as overwhelming favourites. Bafana Bafana didn’t lie down, though, frustrating Salah and Trezeguet at every turn and breaking quickly through both Tau and Lorch whenever they could. They deserved their stunning victory and won’t make life easy for Nigeria.
Thembinkosi Lorch (South Africa): In truth, Tau can count himself unlucky not to get the recognition, but Lorch edges it because of his decisive contribution at the end. The pair did everything Salah and Trezeguet didn’t; running directly at the heart of the Egypt defence and causing havoc all night. They wanted it more, and it was impressive that Lorch was able to keep his head to score having missed a similar chance a few minutes earlier.
South Africa: Williams 7, Mkhize 6, Hlatshwayo 5, Vilakazi 7, Hlanti 5, Mokotjo 7, Zungu 6, Furman 7, Tau 7, Lorch 8, Mothiba 7 Substitutes: Kekana n/a, Veldwijk n/a
4’ – CHANCE! Snapshot from Salah inside the South African box, but it is deflected wide. Elmohamady’s link up play has been good so far. A warning, you feel.
22’ – FREE KICK! Tau has been lively, and he’s almost given South Africa the lead! El-Shenawy saves well. He then claws a cross in the second phase after a corner.
85’ – GOAL! LORCH SCORES! South Africa lead late on and you can’t say they don’t deserve it!
That was Lorch’s first goal of the tournament and the first Egypt conceded
South Africa reach the quarter final for the first time since 2002.