By Michael Madyira
Bafana Bafana blew away a Lyle Foster first-half brace to allow Liberia mount a stunning comeback.
Liberia forced a 2-2 draw in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Orlando Stadium on Friday.
It turned out to be a frustrating evening for Bafana after Foster had struck his double in the 11th and 22nd minutes.
Then the hosts crumbled to throw their Afcon qualification bid into a big ask by letting substitutes Tonia Tisdell and Mohammed Sangare lead Liberia’s comeback with 68th-minute and stoppage-time goals respectively.
After the excitement of watching Foster bag a total of three goals in this qualification campaign, Bafana’s home show was spoiled as they are third in Group K.
They have now placed themselves under pressure by making Tuesday’s return fixture in Monrovia a must-win.
Defeat for South Africa would send them out of contention to qualify for Ivory Coast 2023 and could mark the end of Hugo Broos’ tenure as Bafana coach.
Friday’s match was the first meeting between Bafana and Liberia since 2002 and the third overall as Bafana remain unbeaten against Liberia.
Broos started six Mamelodi Sundowns players including Thapelo Morena who was deployed at right-back as Nyiko Mobbie was unusually benched.
Former Baroka FC winger Terrence Tisdell started for Liberia who arrived in South Africa on the backdrop of a poor away record in Afcon qualifiers.
The hosts went ahead after Liberia goalkeeper Tommy Songo fouled Percy Tau inside the box and up-stepped Lyle Foster to convert from the penalty spot.
Foster was back to beat Songo again after connecting with his head Teboho Mokoena delivery from a corner kick.
A minute after taking the lead, Bongokuhle Hlongwane almost made it three-nil up but bizarrely shot wide at point-blank range with only Songo to beat.
Just before the half-hour mark, Hlongwane again narrowly missed the target as Bafana dominated play without any threat from their visitors.
But Slavia Prague Oscar Dorley almost beat Williams with a long deceiving shot while the hosts did not make such a daring effort.
Foster’s goals gave Bafana comfort as they rarely threatened the Liberians who then reduced arrears through Tisdell’s freekick.
Sangare’s stoppage time cracker from outside of the box levelled matters in what was his second international goal.
Pictured above: Bafana line up for Liberia
Image source: Bafana Bafana