Bafana Bafana vs Colombia turned out to be an all-penalty affair as the home team pulled off a 2-1 win at a packed Soccer City on Thursday night.
Teko Modise and Katlego Mphela netted from the spot to keep South Africa’s World Cup preparations on track, cancelling out Giovanni Andrés Moreno’s converted penalty.
Well I don’t know if the South Americans are just difficult or if the Kenyan ref was a bit uncertain or inconsistent or if there was a communications problem, but this was a very messy game, with players – mostly Bafana Bafana flying through the air and three Colombians stretchered off the field and more yellow cards than I’ve seen for ages.
Khune Injured; Two Penalties and Many Yellow Cards
It was the injury to Bafana stopper, Itumeleng Khune that was the focal point of the opening minutes, when he collided with Jackson Arley Martínez. Khune’s injury was the start of a frantic 15 minutes, in which two penalties were awarded and a number of yellow cards were dished out.
South Africa continued to dominate the possession stakes, passing the ball around nicely at the back and in the midfield. Still, despite dictating terms in the middle of the park, they were not penetrative enough going forward as they struggled to find decent goal scoring chances.
Second Half – Steven Pienaar and Kagiso Dikgacoi
After the break, Bafana head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira rang the changes. Steven Pienaar entered the fray along with Josephs and Kagiso Dikgacoi. Thanduyise Khuboni, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Khune all made way.
The changes seemed to stunt Bafana’s forward momentum and to make matters worse, Tsepo Masilela left the field injured, with Lucas Thwala taking his place on the left flank. Then to put the cherry on the cake, the Colombians who were very big and physical seemed to have poor Steven Pienaar off his feet more than on them at one stage.
Great play by Tshabalala; Mphela Scores
In the 57th minute, some great play between Mphela and Tshabalala saw the latter being tripped in the box just as he was about to pull the trigger.
The referee rightly pointed to the spot and Mphela stepped up to smack the ball to the right of the keeper who went the wrong way.
The second half fell into a bit of a lull as no team could really create any decent goal scoring chances. That was until the final five minutes when Colombia began to pile forward in their numbers to find an equaliser.
Benni Mc Carthy Gets a Run
The 63rd minute saw the introduction of Benni McCarthy but he could not really make his presence felt due to the heavy Colombian presence in midfield and the attacking backs that choked the majority of Bafana’s attacking moves.
Moeneeb Josephs – Great in the Goal
Second half substitute Moeneeb Josephs, stepped up to the plate, making two very important saves in the dying minutes of the match. First, in the 86th minute, he was able to turn away a Martinez shot from about 14 yards out diving low to his right to make the save.
The final period was a nerve-wracking mix of great Bafana defending and needless giving-away of free-kicks by the hosts. Especially, that tackle by Aaron Mokoena was reckless and really unnecessary.
Then in the last minute of the match Josephs was again at his best, diving full stretch to his left to tip a Hugo Rodallega shot over the crossbar.
I personally would prefer Josephs as a number one choice goalkeeper. He is much more active and alive and he is a great communicator.
Bafana Win at Soccer City
In the end Bafana were able to hold out and celebrated their first win in their first match at the newly revamped Soccer City.
There were some late scares for Bafana, but “Slimkat” Josephs and man-of-the-match Khumalo combined to ensure the World Cup hosts secured a win at Africa’s biggest stadium. And Head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira’s ninth victory in a row with Bafana Bafana.
South Africa (1) 2 (Modise 18’ pen, Mphela 58’ pen)
Colombia (1) 1 (Moreno 21’ pen)
Image: Teko Modise Scores – Bafana Celebrate. football 365.com
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