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Wednesday, 27 March 2024 08:59

Bafana Bafana held by Algeria in six-goal thriller in FIFA Series 2024.

Staff Reporter.

Algeria and South Africa played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in their 'Fifa Series' international friendly at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Baraki, Algiers, on Tuesday.

The Desert Foxes and Bafana put on a feast of attacking football, headlined by a brace of goals from Themba Zwane and an early contender for the 2024 Puskas Award (prize for best goal of the year) from Yassine Benzia, who opened and closed the scoring on the night.

South Africa made 10 changes compared to the starting XI which faced Andorra last Thursday, with only Thabang Monare retained in the line-up.

And the visitors nearly made a dream start, with Oswin Appollis latching onto Nyiko Mobbie's low cross from the right flank and firing off a powerful shot which thundered off the crossbar in just the third minute.

South Africa offered further threats on goal via shots from Teboho Mokoena and Aubrey Modiba, but Algeria claimed the lead in the 22nd minute when Yacine Brahimi fed Yassine Benzia on a counter attack, and the forward sent a left-footed drive through the legs of Grant Kekana and into the bottom corner of the net for 1-0.

Bafana Bafana levelled the game on 34 minutes, with Mokoena winning the ball high up the field and starting a move which ended with Themba Zwane easily turning home Mihlali Mayambela's low cross for 1-1.

And the Mamelodi Sundowns playmaker scored a brilliant solo goal deep into injury time before the interval, cutting back from the right by-line before firing a left-footed shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Moustapha Zeghba to see SA lead 2-1 at the break.

The Desert Foxes struck back in the eighth minute after the restart, capitalising on Ronwen Williams giving away possession, as Benzia turned provider and teed up Brahimi to sweep home an equaliser for 2-2.

South Africa responded with a couple of substitutions and Elias Mokwana, in his first major contribution, cut inside off the right flank and sent a drive into the back of the net via a somewhat unwitting deflection off the head of Iqraam Rayners to see the visitors 3-2 up in the 66th minute.

Yet the lead lasted just four minutes, with Benzia scoring a jaw-dropping equaliser for 3-3.

The Qarabag player flicked up a pass from substitute Monsef Bakrar with his right foot, swivelled and scored with an acrobatic left-footed volley which looped beyond the reach of Williams.

The teams traded scoring chances in what remained of the game – including a Mokoena shot which drew a superb save from Zeghba in the 88th minute – but ultimately the match closed with the score at three goals apiece.

The teams will next be in 2026 World Cup qualifying action in June, with Algeria taking on Guinea and Uganda, while South Africa will face Nigeria and Zimbabwe.