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World Cup Qualifying - Africa | Second Round
Nov 11, 2021 at 7pm UK
 
ZN

South Africa
1 - 0
Zimbabwe

Mokoena (26')
Mashego (46'), Phete (59')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Nakamba (56')

Preview: South Africa vs. Zimbabwe - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: South Africa vs. Zimbabwe - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's World Cup Qualifying - Africa clash between South Africa and Zimbabwe, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

South Africa will look to maintain their place at the top of their World Cup 2022 Qualifying group on Thursday, when they play host to Zimbabwe.

With just one place up for grabs in the next round, the hosts have a one-point lead over Ghana with two games left to play, while top spot is out of reach of their visitors.


Match preview

South Africa met Zimbabwe in the opening game of the group campaign, and neither side were able to break the deadlock in Harare, despite Hugo Broos's men heading in as favourites after a seven-game unbeaten run, including a triumph in the COSAFA Cup in the summer on home turf.

Bafana Bafana quickly kicked into gear though, recording a crucial 1-0 win over a heavily-fancied Ghana side, with Bongokuhle Hlongwane netting the winner in the final 10 minutes.

They then met Ethiopia in consecutive group games and left the away tie with a 3-1 win, thanks to goals from Teboho Mokoena, Mothobi Mvala and Evidence Makgopa, before a Getaneh Kebede own goal made the difference in a hard-fought 1-0 home victory.

Such a run sees Broos's men lead Ghana by one point with two games to go, but with the sides meeting on the final day in a potentially decisive clash for who will progress, they are far from through yet and will be desperate to put another victory on the board beforehand on Thursday.

They meet a Zimbabwe side who are unable to progress further towards next year's tournament after a poor run of results.

After the opening draw with Thursday's opponents, the Warriors have had an opposite spell of form, having lost each of the other three group games.

That result was followed by a 1-0 defeat to Ethiopia, before they were beaten 3-1 away from home by Ghana.

In their most recent outing, Zimbabwe welcomed Ghana for the reverse fixture, and they fell just short with Thomas Partey netting the only goal of the game for the heavy favourites.

Despite their inability to go further this year, the Warriors will still be keen to end on a high and post an eye-catching victory against South Africa on Thursday, and they may take confidence from a somewhat improved display in the second meeting with Ghana.

South Africa World Cup Qualifying - Africa form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

South Africa form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Zimbabwe World Cup Qualifying - Africa form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L

Zimbabwe form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

South Africa have named a strong squad for the final round of group fixtures, and they will likely field a similar side to the one that has cruised through the group stage so far.

Exciting midfielder Ethan Brooks will hope to have earned a starting place, while Teboho Mokoena has likely nailed down the other spot in the engine room.

Young forward Evidence Makgopa has caught eyes with his performances since coming into the side, and Broos will hope he can continue his impressive form in the final third.

Rushine De Reuck has taken on a senior role in the defensive line, and he could continue to general a back three in front of Ronwen Williams.

Zimbabwe face the notable absence of captain Knowledge Musona, who will miss out of this fixture through an injury.

In his absence, Macauley Bonne could be called on to lead the attack, having netted 11 goals in 15 league appearances for Ipswich Town this season, while Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba will be trusted as a leader in the side.

South Africa possible starting lineup:
Williams; Ngcobo, De Reuck, Xulu; Mobbie, Mokoena, Brooks, Mashego; Letsoalo, Makgopa, Hlongwane

Zimbabwe possible starting lineup:
Mvula; Dariwka, Mudimu, Hadebe, Galloway; Madzongwe, Nakamba, Billiat; Mahachi, Bonne, Mutizwa


We say: South Africa 3-1 Zimbabwe

While the sides finished level in the previous encounter, South Africa arguably boast more quality throughout their squad, and we see them getting over the line.

With the added desire for a victory, considering their need to keep hold of top spot, Broos will be hopeful of his side grinding out their fourth straight win.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data




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