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Bafana ready to battle Angola in second leg qualifiers

Bafana carry a healthy two goal advantage from the first leg after a 3-1 victory on Friday.

Bafana Bafana's left back Thabo Matlaba. Picture: Safa Facebook page.

CAPE TOWN - Bafana Bafana square off against Angola in the second leg of their World Cup Qualifier at the Moses Mabhida in Durban on Tuesday.

Bafana carry a healthy two goal advantage from the first leg after a convincing 3-1 victory in Benguela on Friday.

After conceding an early goal, Bafana did well to come back and score three.

Coach Shakes Mashaba praised the team's character after the early goal setback.

"We managed to soak up the pressure especially after they scored, when in fact we should have scored seconds earlier but they played a counter attack and punished us with a soft goal. I must applaud our boys for showing character by not dropping their heads after we conceded so early," said Mashaba.

The coach also praised the central defensive partnership.

"The second half started with the hosts in ascendency but our defence - especially the central pairing of Erick Mathoho and Rivaldo Coetzee - did very well and kept us in the match. Angola was stretching us using their wingers but we stood firm."

Another positive for South Africa is the form of the frontline Tokelo Rantie and Thamsanqa Gabuza, both of whom found the back of the net in Benguela.

Rantie's club boss Eddie Howe of Bournemouth also sung the strikers praises.

"TK's goal and all-round display for South Africa capped a memorable few days for him. He was a constant threat to the Angolan defenders and they found his pace difficult to deal with. He took his goal superbly and had a big hand in the third when he was fouled for the penalty," said Howe.

In a very good outing for Bafana, the only real negative is that Andile Jali will miss the second leg tomorrow. Jali received a second yellow card after scoring the third goal from the penalty spot. The industrious midfielder will certainly be missed in the middle of the park for Bafana.

"Jali's absence means we have to adjust the team a bit and make sure we get someone to get into that position. But we are not going to make big changes. Jali does so much work for the team. He defends, he makes us play and we need a player like that for Tuesday in Durban," said Mashaba.

Jali has been released from the squad and returns to Belgium where he plays his club football.

Mashaba will not be underestimating the Angolans and believes they carry a real threat going forward while also mentioning that another goal would be necessary to put the tie to bed.

"We are not going to sit back and wait for them to come at us because we will be inviting trouble. They are a good side going forward.

"We need to make sure that we are cautious, meaning do things at the right time, attack them but still maintain shape, have numbers when we defend and attack and not give them space because they can hurt us. We also need a goal to add to this three and seal the victory."

The second leg kick offs at 7pm and the odds are heavily stacked in favour of Mashaba's men.

This is an opportunity for Bafana to build on their impressive performance on Friday. The character they showed to come back after an early set back will encourage the coach and fans alike. It is hoped they will carry this momentum into the second leg and add more misery to the Angolans and ensure their path to the next stage of qualifying.

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