Despite loss, Bafana performed well

2012-09-08 08:13

Last night’s 1-0 loss to Brazil was an indication of new life in Bafana Bafana and proof that coach Gordon Igesund is serious about a new era.

Even the second-half goal by substitute player Hulk did not break the South African’s fighting spirit as they kept on knocking on their opponents’ door until the final minute.

While Brazil attacked more in the first stanza, even forcing Bafana Bafana to concede four corner kicks, the second period was a different ball game altogether.

South Africa created several scoring chances in this half but wayward shooting and goalkeeper Diego Alves, who stood his ground when his goal was peppered with missiles, ensured that the hosts kept a clean sheet.

That Brazil boasted players such as local star, the 20-year-old Neymar who plays for Santos, Chelsea’s David Luis and Ramires, Real Madrid’s Marcelo and Barcelona’s Daniel Alves, did not deter Igesund’s squad.

Instead, they matched them pound for pound and the first yellow card received by Dede for a foul on Bafana debutante Dino Ndlovu was indicative of the pressure being put on Brazil.

The over-committed Lerato Chabangu also got himself into the books of the referee for a rash challenge but this proved that even attacking players were prepared to take on defensive duties when necessary.

Marcelo became the third player to be booked as he hacked Siboniso “Pa” Gaxa, who had intercepted a beautifully crafted move between him and Neymar on the left flank.

The Brazilian supporters in the crowd of 51 538, proved once more that they are indeed connoisseurs of the beautiful game as they cheered when Bafana strung together impressive passes.

Injuries to Ndlovu and later McCarthy, who had come in as a straight swap, did affect the coach’s plans but Itumeleng Khune had a sterling game between the poles and proved once more why he is numero uno in the country.

The use of six substitutes by the two coaches almost diluted the match but at the end of the day, the crowd had an exciting afternoon of football.

» Mseleku is in Brazil courtesy of the SA Football Association

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