Thembinkosi Lorch was the hero as South Africa’s Bafana Bafana, Saturday, ditched hosts Pharaohs of Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cairo.
The men from Mzansi produced an incredible performance at the International Stadium on Saturday night, defying their dodgy group performance and then some to reach the quarter-finals.
Recalled forward Lorch was making his first start of the competition and sealed a scarcely believable victory late in the second half with an ice-cool finish.
But it was the epitome of a team effort with Bongani Zungu and Dean Furman bossing the midfield for large parts at an intensity previously unseen by South African fans.
A couple of early efforts from Percy Tau signaled true attacking intent for the first time in the tournament for Bafana, with Mohamed Salah misfiring in between.
It went on to be a maddening evening for the Liverpool star, who was marshaled impeccably for the most part by the outstanding Sifiso Hlanti.
His forward partner Trezeguet looked to continue his bright Afcon, calling Ronwen Williams into action.
He had a far better opportunity the other side of half time, only to shoot straight at the grateful, Port Elizabeth-born keeper.
The tension rose and rose inside the rocking stadium bowl, with Thulani Hlatshwayo rising to head agonizingly wide at the far post.
But they came good with five minutes left of normal time.
Breaking with pace and tenacity, Lebo Mothiba found Lorch on his inside, who went on to finish coolly to break Egyptian hearts.
Stuart Baxter’s side will face Nigeria in the last eight after the Super Eagles squeezed past defending champions Cameroon 3-2 on a day of AFCON shocks.
(The South African)