Bafana Bafana defeat DR Congo in penalty thriller to secure AFCON bronze

Bafana Bafana defeat DR Congo in penalty thriller to secure AFCON bronze

Bafana Bafana outlasted the Democratic Republic of Congo in a tense penalty shootout to secure third place in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

With no extra time in the third-place play-off match, it was left to penalties to decide the winner of the contest after it finished 0-0 at the end of regulation.

It looked like a case of more heartbreak for Hugo Broos' side after Teboho Mokoena missed the first penalty kick, but a save from Ronwen Williams kept Bafana Bafana alive, while they converted all six of their next shots on goal to seal a nailbiting victory as a second missed penalty from Meschak Elia consigned DR Congo to defeat.

Bafana featured several changes in their starting lineup, with injuries to Mothobi Mvala and Percy Tau, and Grant Kekana's suspension, opening the door for Nkosinathi Sibisi, Mihlali Mayambela and Thapelo Morena.

Despite an initial push from the Leopards, a crucial save by Williams denied Silas an early goal.

South Africa gained momentum as the match progressed, with Mokoena creating an opportunity for Evidence Makgopa, whose shot was wide.

In the second half, Williams had to be alert again to thwart an effort from Simon Banza, while Broos made a couple of strategic substitutions, bringing on Oswin Appollis for Makgopa and Thabang Monare for Themba Zwane.

Both teams had their chances to snatch the lead, with Mayambela coming close for Bafana and Silas creating another good opportunity for the Leopards, but neither side could break the deadlock, leading to another penalty shootout.

An early miss from Mokoena was followed by a miss from DR Congo's Chancel Mbemba just as he had the opportunity to snatch victory for his side.

That saw the shootout go to sudden death, where Siyanda Xulu scored and Williams saved Elia's shot, securing victory for Bafana Bafana and a very respectable third-place finish in the AFCON tournament.

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