Second-half domination a little too late

2007-11-18 00:00

Again, alarming holes at the back could have left mechanic Parreira scratching his head at which defective part he had overlooked this time.

Thankfully, though, the coach's half-time tinkerings got the engine purring over, if not quite like a kitten, then at least like an alley cat that is up for a scrap.

In truth, Bafana could really have done with a win in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge match to build confidence in the “senior” team's second-last friendly international ahead of the African Nations Cup finals that start in Ghana in January.

But luck just has not gone the national team's way of late and a convincing second-half domination of the classy Americans will just have to do.

There are still plenty of weak areas that need addressing before the Nations Cup. The holes in the defence in the first 45 minutes are just one aspect.

Too many stray passes and crosses, again mostly in the first half, and poor finishing remain concerns. Even when the Bafana did come to life and created numerous chances in the second half, they still did not produce one save from either Tim Howard or Brad Guzan in the American goal.

Then again, with Parreira -thanks to the PSL scheduling seven league matches last Wednesday - only having two training sessions with his full squad as opposed to a good five by counterpart Bob Bradley, should it come as any surprise that the Americans were more organised in the first half? Parreira needs more time to work with his players, and hopefully a training camp will be held in the weeks building up to Ghana.

“In the first half we did not play very well, but I am happy with the pressing in the second half and the way we created chances and improved greatly,” Parreira said. “This is all part of the learning process, but it was still disappointing to lose the game.”

In the second half Bafana's passing and build-ups improved hugely, with Delron Buckley, Teko Modise, and Steven Pienaar getting into the game, and MacBeth Sibaya putting in more challenges.

South Africa's local-based players play Canada in Durban tomorrow, with plenty of places in the Nations Cup squad still up for grabs.

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