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Another Ethiopian goalkeeping howler gives South Africa a boost to win in Bahir Dar

Before Saturday’s encounter against South Africa, Ethiopia’s one loss in FIFA World Cup qualifying came due to a dreadful goalkeeping error for the game’s lone goal at Ghana, and once again a shocking mistake between the sticks had the Walias playing catch up. Teboho Mokoena scored from a free kick just before half time for Bafana Bafana before Mothobi Mvala and Evidence Makgopa won the match late on after the hosts equalized, helping the visitors maintain their pace at the top of Group G. The loss was Ethiopia’s first ever defeat in qualification at the Bahir Dar Stadium and puts a serious dent to their hopes of challenging for top spot.

The match was open and full of chances throughout as the Ethiopians looked to keep the ball on the ground and open up the game. In the early stages the hosts nearly found the opener, with their first opportunity coming when poor passing in the back from South Africa resulted in Abubeker Nassir setting up Surafel Dagnachew for a shot over the bar. In the 16th minute, an enterprising run by Amanuel Gebremichael saw the Saint George forward cross to club teammate Getaneh Kebede, who set up Dagnachew with a slick backheel before the resulting shot went over the bar.

Bafana Bafana showed resilience and played their way into the match, with outstanding goalkeeping by captain Ronwen Williams also being a serious boost to the cause. The SuperSport United keeper came up with a massive reflex save from close range when Nassir was sent in by a perfectly weighted pass by Dagnachew in the 37th minute. In stoppage time the dreadful moment came for Ethiopian supporters when Mokoena whipped in speculative direct free kick on goal. Walias goalkeeper Fasil Gebremichael had a nightmare moment and mishandled the apparently harmless shot, with the ball spilling into the goal to put the hosts down going into the halftime break.

The Walias picked up their play after the break and had real initiative in trying to get back in the match, finding their reward in the 67th minute. Dagnachew was tripped up just outside the South African penalty area and Kebede stepped up to deliver a perfect free kick shot into the top corner. The shot was rifled with pace and precision, leaving the outstanding Williams with absolutely no chance.

However, the hard work was soon undone for Ethiopia. A few minutes later, their set piece marking failed them when a long throw from Bafana right back Nyiko Mobbie was inadvertently flicked on by Kebede to the middle of the six-yard box, where an opportunistic Mvala was there to smash home past Gebremichael to give the Mamelodi Sundowns player his first international goal. Late on substitute Evidence Makgopa put the match away by controlling an aerial ball with his chest and then playing an excellent combination with fellow sub Victor Letsaolo before brilliantly flicking a finish over the onrushing Gebremichael with the outside of his boot.

It was a dream result for the young Bafana Bafana side and now they have seven points through three games. Check out the highlights in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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