‘Man of moment’ Furman helps Bafana find their mojo
Moment of the match: Lehlohonolo Majoro coming off the bench to score Bafana’s insurance goal.
Save of the match: Itumeleng diving to his right to deny Guilherme in the 52nd minute.
Dean Furman was the man of the moment after Bafana Bafana beat Angola 2-0 to put one foot in the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Bafana have four points after two matches and a draw against Morocco on Sunday will guarantee them a place in the quarterfinals.
But the day belonged to Furman.
After not being considered for the opening match against Cape Verde on Saturday, which ended in a stalemate, Furman answered the nation’s call when he inspired Bafana to a comfortable victory here against their more fancied opponents.
The Oldham Athletic midfielder might not have been on the score sheet but he made all the difference to the team as he worked his socks off and controlled the proceedings from the middle of park.
When Lehlohonolo Majoro scored the second goal in the second half, the writing was already on the wall after Siyabonga Sangweni had put the hosts ahead in the first half.
Except for two quick corners Angola had nothing to offer against Bafana. Bafana took the game to the visitors and put them on the back foot as early as the fifth minute.
It was evident from the starting line-up that coach Gordon Igesund went for an all-out attack in Tokelo Rantie and Katlego Mphela, with the marauding Bernard Parker supporting from behind.
Although the line-up raised eyebrows as his twin midfielders – Dean Furman and May Mahlangu – had not played together before, Igesund’s decision to start the two was justified as they complemented each other very well in the middle of the park.
This was a different team to the one that froze in the opening game against Cape Verde on Saturday. The message was clear: go get the three points and they heeded the nation’s call.
Bafana had not delivered this kind of performance in a long time. The team deserved more than the single goal they scored in the 30th minute as they bombarded the Angolan defence and goalkeeper.
Sangweni made all the difference when he latched onto a quickly taken free kick to give Bafana the lead. And when Majoro scored the insurance goal in the second half, after coming on for Rantie, it was all over for Angola, who will now hope for a miracle to advance to the quarterfinals.
They play Cape Verde on Sunday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Durban has always been Bafana’s happy hunting ground and they did not disappoint the supporters who rallied behind them.