South Africa beat Ethiopia 1-0 at FNB Stadium in the African qualifiers to the Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup on Tuesday.
Hours after Ghana had moved top of Group G, Bafana Bafana reclaimed the No 1 spot with a narrow win over the Walia Ibex in Soweto in front of some 2 000 spectators. It was the first time South African football fans were allowed to attend a match in 18 months.
Victory for Hugo Broos’s troops made it back-to-back wins for South Africa over their east African counterparts, following a 3-1 win against the same opponents in Bahir Dar this past weekend.
The result moved South Africa a point ahead of the Black Stars in Group G and effectively ended Ethiopia’s chances of reaching Qatar 2022 with two matches remaining.
South Africa next face already eliminated Zimbabwe before a potentially group deciding clash in Ghana next month.
The decisive goal at FNB Stadium came early in the encounter.
An own goal from Bernard Parker famously steered Ethiopia to victory eight years ago and ironically enough, the man who scored for the Walia Ibex in that match – and also this past weekend – put the ball beyond his own goalkeeper in the 11th minute.
Getaneh Kebede, who is well known to South African football followers, inadvertently directed the ball past Fasil Gebremichael after Yusuf Maart had picked out Victor Letsoalo at a corner-kick.
Ethiopia ended the game strongly and came close when Abubeker Nassir charged down Rowen Williams’s attempted clearance with 10 minutes of regulation time remaining.
Luckily for the Bafana Bafana skipper the deflected ball bounced wide goal, and in the end South Africa held on for all three points.