Bafana scores an impressive win against Spain

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pretoria - Bafana Bafana recorded a memorable victory when they became the first African team to wallop the reigning world champions, Spain, 1-nil during an international friendly played at FNB stadium on Tuesday night.

With President Jacob Zuma, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane at the stadium to cheer the national team on, Bafana unexpectedly ended the match with a shock win to make the nation proud.

Bernard Parker put Bafana in the lead in the 55th minute after receiving a wonderful pass in the near post from Tokelo Rantie. The Kaizer Chiefs striker made a brilliant run before clipping the ball over Víctor Valdes.

Sergio Busquets tried to hack it off the line, but his efforts were fruitless as the ball had already crossed the goal-line.

The home team started the match looking nervous, rendering the European and World champions to be more offensive in their strategy.  

As Bafana continued to build and complete their passes, they were lucky to escape from an early punishment in the first five minutes when David Villa, who slotted home after rounding Bafana keeper Itumeleng Khune and put the ball behind the net, but the Atletico Madrid man was offside. 

In the 11th minute, Pedro Rodríguez Ledesma played the ball into Fernando Llorente, who laid off to the Barcelona maestro Andres Iniesta, who tried to bend one into the top corner 20 metres from Khune, but he missed the target.

The home team started to gain more confidence in the 17th minute following the hard work and good combination of Andile Jali, Oupa Manyisa and Dean Furman in the midfield.

Bafana Bafana’s brilliant performance saw Manyisa’s volley taking a huge deflection, leaving Iker Casillas high and dry, but he was lucky as the ball hit the crossbar. 

In the 39th minute, the visitors looked more dangerous as Ignacio Monreal shook off the Bafana defence with his dazzling run at the near post, but instead of shooting, he opted to cut back towards Pedro, and Anele Ngcongca intercepted the move.

Bafana went to the half-time break holding their heads high as they managed to deny the champions a chance to score.

In the second half, coach Gordon Igesund substituted Bongani Khumalo and Daylon Claasen with Siyanda Xulu and Siphiwe Tshabalala, while the La Roja replaced skipper Iker Casillas with Valdes.

After scoring the goal, Bafana were no longer attacking, giving the champions more space to move forward to trouble Khune, who was on top of his game. 

As the Spanish team continued to attack, Álvaro Negredo received a wonderful pass from Iniesta in the box, but he unleashed a poor shot straight into Khune’s hands.  

After making their sixth and final substitution, with Valdes down, the visitors were expected to finish the match with 10 players. They were somehow allowed to make an extra substitution, a controversial decision which led the Bafana coach to protest.

Pepe Reina was brought in and with time running out, he made some spectacular saves to deny Bafana strikers Parker and Rantie chances to score more goals. 

Although nothing was on the line for the international friendly match, Bafana used the match to gain experience, while Spain used the encounter as their preparatory match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Spain has already qualified for the 2014 Brazil World Cup by winning Group I in UEFA, while South Africa failed to qualify for the tournament.

For Spain, who enjoyed more ball possession throughout the match, the game was also a trip down memory lane to SA’s calabash stadium, where they scored the last goal of the 2010 FIFA World Cup three years ago.

With their crucial 1-nil victory, Bafana achieved their objective of simply using the encounter to give their fans something to cheer for after failing to get into the 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup. -

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