Missed chances cost South Africa

2008-02-01 00:00

SIPHIWE Tshabalala’s cross-cum-lob that hit the right upright in injury time of Bafana Bafana’s 1-1 African Nations Cup Group D draw against Senegal at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium here summed up South Africa’s evening.

In an exciting though equally frustrating game, South Africa strove to achieve the victory that would give them an outside chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals. In the end it was all in vain anyway, with Tunisia and Angola drawing 0-0 in the concurrent game played in Tamale, rendering the scoreline of Bafana’s game meaningless.

Still, a victory would have been a tremendous morale booster to Carlos Alberto Parreira’s young side, who started the tournament brightly with a 1-1 draw against Angola but paid for schoolboy defensive errors in a 3-1 defeat against Tunisia.

Last night Bafana narrowly outplayed a Senegal team in disarray following the resignation of coach Henri Kasperczak after the Lions of Taranga’s 3-1 defeat against Angola on Sunday. Senegal had their fair share of scoring chances, but South Africa had more.

Bafana played some exciting attacking football, with some crisp passing and exhilarating attacks, especially in the opening period of the game and an end-to-end second half. Too often though, the South Africans took the wrong option in attacking positions, including three occasions in the second half where there were three attackers against two defenders.

There were surprises from both teams in the starting line-ups. Senegal had star striker El Hadji Diouf, goalkeeper Tony Sylva and midfielder Ousmane Ndoye — all reported to have been drunk in a Kumasi nightclub two nights before the game —marked as absent.

Parreira threw young Kagisho Dikgacoi into the deep end for a Nations Cup debut and baptism of fire against big Senegalese Papa Bouba Diop and Moustapha Sall, restoring the central defensive partnership of Nasief Morris and captain Aaron Mokoena.

Dikgacoi coped well with the challenge and contributed to Bafana’s domination.

Bafana had a good appeal for a penalty turned down early on by Ghanaian referee Alex Kotey when Van Heerden appeared to have been tripped in the area by Souleymane Diawara.

The South Africans looked sharp in attack, and carved the Senegalese up in the 15th minute when Tsepo Masilela released Modise down the left, whose cross picked out Van Heerden free on the right to finish with a well-taken volley.

Bafana ended the half defending too deep and absorbing pressure, and Mokoena’s error in the 38th minute, missing Sall’s throughpass, allowed Henri Camara to finish easily past Bafana keeper, Moeneeb Josephs.

Bafana exerted pressure on the Senegalese defence in the last quarter, but some golden chances went begging. Modise in a three-on-two situation, dithered with his pass, finally feeding Zuma whose ball across goal was wasted.

In the dying moments Zuma headed substitute Lance Davids’s cross wide. Bafana had scored a goal apiece in their two previous games, and Tshabalala’s lob onto the upright confirmed this was not their night to improve on that record.

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