Ghana’s group C opponent South Africa moved closer to guaranteeing a spot in the Cameroon 2021 Total Africa Cup of Nations finals after beating Sao Tome and Principe 4-2 on 16th November 2020.
Bafana Bafana raised their tally to 9 points, to join Ghana on top temporarily, while Sao Tome’s qualification hopes were done and dusted after remaining pointless.
The game was played in Port Elizabeth, South Africa as agreed by both sides.
Sao Tome produced a brave performance, taking an early lead and holding South Africa till the 86th minute. But they bowed to two late goals by their presumed visitors.
Themba Zwane and Percy Tau had a brace each for South Africa, while Soares Pontes and Harramiz Soares scored for Sao Tome and Principe.
Sao Tome started the game on a high note, and after eight minutes Lucio Pires shot missed the target narrowly.
They eventually took the lead at the 12th minute. From Jardel Nazare’s corner kick, skipper Joazhifel Soares Pontes rose higher than everyone to head home and give the hosts a deserved lead.
South Africa started to dominate the possession in search of the equalizer. They came closest after 28 minutes when Lebogang Manyama’s freekick went just high.
Bafana Bafana finally restored parity after 39 minutes. Themba Zwane received Dean Furman’s brilliant through pass to go one on one and quietly put the ball past Sao Tome’s goalkeeper Aldair.
Aldair intercepted just in time to deny Manyama from giving South Africa the lead just before halftime.
Joel Das Neves was the first to ask questions in the second half. His long-range effort two minutes after the break was stopped by South Africa’s goalkeeper Rowen Williams.
And seconds later the post was there to save Sao Tome when Manyama’s shot from inside the area rebounded from the left post with Aldair relieved.
Manyama once again was guilty of missing a glorious chance. Percy Tau cross from the right side found the striker only three yards away but he couldn’t control the ball that went wide.
It was minutes of swinging action, as Pires tried his luck for Sao Tome a couple of minutes later but just missed the target.
Bafana Bafana missed two huge chances in 3 minutes. At the hour mark, Zwane’s shot from six yards away was stopped at the line, before Aldair saved Bongani Zungu’s shot three minutes later, with the South Africans searching for the winner.
They finally got ahead 20 minutes from time. Zwane found Tau inside the penalty area, and the talented striker rounded his marker and sent a curling shot to give South Africa a deserved lead.
But Sao Tome never stopped fighting, and they got the equalizer five minutes later. Substitute Adrieto Pires sent a brilliant cross from the left that Harramiz Soares headed beautifully past Williams to make it 2-2.
Substitute Kermit Erasmus cross found Zwane’s header to give South Africa the lead again after 87 minutes. And instantly from the kickoff, Sao Tome lost the ball and Tau went one on one with Aldair to make it 4-2. Sao Tome will leave with heads high though after a brave fight.