Friendly FIFA Series Friendly: Algeria, South Africa Settle For Draw

Tuesday’s “Fifa Series” international friendly between Algeria and South Africa ended in an exciting 3-3 tie at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Baraki, Algiers.

Yassine Benzia, who started and closed the scoring on the evening, and Themba Zwane, who scored twice, were the main highlights of the aggressive football feast between the Desert Foxes and Bafana.

Zwane is a strong candidate for the 2024 Puskas Award, which is given for the finest goal of the year.

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Only Thabang Monare remained in the starting lineup for South Africa’s 10 alterations from the starting XI that played Andorra last Thursday.

And in just the third minute, Oswin Appollis pounced on a low cross from Nyiko Mobbie’s right flank and unleashed a powerful volley that smashed against the crossbar, almost giving the visitors the perfect start.

Further chances to score came from Teboho Mokoena and Aubrey Modiba for South Africa, but Yacine Brahimi’s counterattack with Yassine Benzia in the 22nd minute gave Algeria the lead.

Benzia’s left-footed shot went through Grant Kekana’s legs and into the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-0.

On minute 34, Bafana Bafana tied the score when Mokoena won the ball high up the pitch and initiated a play that saw Themba Zwane comfortably score Mihlali Mayambela’s goal.

And just before halftime, the Mamelodi Sundowns playmaker scored a magnificent solo goal to give SA a 2-1 lead.

He cut back from the right by-line and blasted with his left foot past custodian Moustapha Zeghba.

After the break, the Desert Foxes responded in the eighth minute by taking advantage of Ronwen Williams giving up the ball. Benzia then set up Brahimi for an easy 2-2 equaliser.

After making a few adjustments, South Africa countered. In the 66th minute, Elias Mokwana made his first significant impact when he cut inside off the right flank and unintentionally deflected a drive off the head of Iqraam Rayners to put the visitors ahead 3-2.

However, the lead was only maintained for four minutes when Benzia scored an incredible equaliser to make it 3-3.

The Qarabag winger turned and scored with an incredible left-footed volley that looped past Williams after flicking up a pass from substitute Monsef Bakrar with his right foot.

In the latter minutes of play, both teams exchanged scoring opportunities, with Mokoena’s effort in the 88th minute drawing an incredible save from Zeghba, but the game ended with a score of three goals apiece.

The teams will next play in June in the 2026 World Cup qualifying round.

South Africa will play Nigeria and Zimbabwe, while Algeria will play Guinea and Uganda.

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