- Honoured Prinsloo looks to make even bigger strides
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- World’s top teams head for SA
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Amajita roll over Russia to book their place in Cup semi-final
- Updated: January 22, 2015
The national Under-20 men’s soccer side have turned in a superb second-half performance to storm into the last four of the Commonwealth Cup in Russia after overcoming hosts Russia 2-0 in a thrilling St Petersburg quarter-final encounter.
The South Africans will now meet Belarus for a place in the final while in Friday’s semi-final encounter Turkmenistan play Finland.
After being put under tremendous pressure in the first half, Amajita turned on the heat in the second half scoring two quick goals.
And it could have been worse for the hosts had Amajita made use of all their chances but the two goals were full value for the hard-work they put in the second stanza.
It was the Russians who started frantically, looking for the crucial early goal in the very first minute but goalkeeper and man-of-the-match Dumisani Msibi came off his line quickly to avert danger. The hosts made all the early running, desperately searching for the opener.
Winger Yevgeny Markov was proving a danger on the left wing and his cross in the seventh minute was again well collected by Msibi as the hosts continued to threaten.
Kabelo Seriba then collected a yellow card as the hosts again poured forward and from the resultant free kick, Msibi produced a brilliant save.
Amajita responded in the 21st minute when Maphosa Modiba’s stinging shot brought out a good save from Russian ‘keeper Liya Lantratov who punched the ball for a corner.
Using their aerial power, the hosts continued to pump long balls forward in a bid to unsettle Amajita and the trick seemed to work.
But, becoming frustrated by not getting the early opener, Russia resorted to long range shots and one effort almost paid dividends in the 30th when a vicious shot from Alexey Yevseev flew narrowly wide of the desperately dividing Msibi.
Denwin Farmer then appeared from nowhere to deny Temuri Bukia as the Russian striker ghosted towards the goal.
Msibi was having a good game, foiling one attack after the other as the hosts sustained the first half pressure.
Siyanda Ngubo and Pule Maraisane then came in after the break to add some bite upfront. And the move immediately paid off when Maraisane received a pass from Ngubo before planting a well-taken strike into the back of the net to make it 1-0 in the 50th minute.
Five minutes later, Siphelele Luthuli made it 2-0 with another individual goal with the hosts seemingly bemused at what had stung them.
It could have been 3-0 just seconds later but Ngubo’s well-taken diagonal shot went agonisingly wide as Amajita upped the tempo.
Maraisane was proving a thorn in the flesh for the Russians as his mazy runs seemed to bamboozle the hosts.
It then became a game of attrition as both teams seemed bogged down with the pace of the match.