Baptism of fire for Bafana

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Johannesburg - Five-time world champs Brazil hammered Bafana Bafana 5-0 during an international friendly match played at FNB Stadium, outside Johannesburg, on Wednesday night.

After realising that Bafana’s performance was below par, the visitors punished the home team in the first 10 minutes of the game through a goal scored by Oscar, who clipped it over Ronwen Williams.

The home team only had the first shot at a goal through Dean Furman, but the shot taken 25 metres from the box never troubled the experienced Brazilian goalie Cesar. 

Barcelona megastar Neymar was doing as he pleased in Bafana’s box, as the defence, led by Nthethe, struggled throughout the match to contain Neymar.

Siyanda Xulu, who came in for Bongani Khumalo who was stretched off the pitch after he sustained a head injury, was also unable to stop the young Brazilian top striker.

The Supersport goalkeeper, who was making his international debut for the national team, denied Neymar a chance to score twice with his brilliant saves, but as the Bafana defenders were playing it too safe, he scored his first goal of the match in the 40th minute after he was left unmarked in the box.

When the two teams came back for the second-half, it only took the Samba Boys less than 30 seconds to punish Bafana through Neymar.

Bafana defenders were once again caught napping and Williams tried to rush to the ball, but Neymar cropped the ball into an empty net, much to the disappointment of the home fans.

Bafana tried to frustrate Brazil with their passes going forward, with the combination of substitute Ayanda Patosi, Oupa Manyisa and Dino Ndlovu but all these never troubled the Brazilian defence led by Marcelo and Luiz.

Bafana were looking strong when they had ball possession, but when they lost possession, it was mainly the young Williams who was saving them from conceding more goals by making brilliant saves.

However, there was nothing he could do alone to stop the attacking Brazilians as Fernandinho powered a long range shot into the top corner, giving Williams no chance. The goal also silenced the home fans, who never stopped cheering their losing team.

Neymar, who also won the man of the match prize, got his hat-trick in the referee’s added time after he caught Nthethe and his teammate ball watching.

The match also formed part of the country’s celebrations of 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy.

It was also an occasion to hand over the FIFA World Cup baton to the 2014 hosts, as well as an opportunity to unveil the two countries’ new playing kits.

SA XI: Williams, Nthethe, Ngcongca, Matlaba, Khumalo, Serero, Furman, Parker, Claasen, Jali and Rantie. Brazil XI: Cesar, Luiz, Rafinha, Marcelo, Hulk, Fernandinho, Neymar, Oscar, Silva, Paulinho and Fred. -

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