East London – A 10-man South Africa surrendered a two goal lead in a first leg, third round 2018 CHAN qualifier to play to a 2-2 draw against Zambia at Buffalo City Stadium on Saturday.
Bafana Bafana were by far the superior team in the first half and made their dominance tell with the opening goal in the 31st minute after Gift Motupa poked the ball home following a corner-kick.
Bafana were unlucky not to double their lead in the closing minutes of the opening half when Gift Motupa broke behind the Zambian defence and crossed for Ryan Moon who saw his shot cleared off the line.
Seven minutes into the second half South Africa did find their second goal when Mario Booysen turned home another well-worked corner-kick, 2-0.
That was about as good as it got for Bafana who tried to defend their lead, but by doing so only allowed Zambia to push forward in attack and turn the screws.
On the hour mark, Zambia pulled a goal back when Lebogang Phiri headed the ball into the back of the net after meeting a pin-point cross.
Matters went from bad to worse for South Africa who were reduced to ten men in the 90th minute after Tercious Malepe was shown a red card following a second bookable offence.
Down to ten men, Bafana were left short in defence and Zambia took full control of this when Augustine Mulenga volleyed home from the edge of the box in the dying seconds of the game, 2-2.
Having conceded two goals at home, South Africa will have a lot to do in the return leg of this third round tie which will be held in Zambia next weekend.