Brilliant Bafana stun Spain

2013-11-19 23:33

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FNB Stadium is where Spain lifted its maiden Fifa World Cup trophy in 2010 but tonigh it was a park of pain as the champions suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bafana Bafana.

It could and should have been more than just the solitary goal had Bafana’s Tokelo Rantie been more clinical in front of goal.

It was more of a polished performance from Bafana as they went toe to toe with the world and European champions who are ranked number one.

Bernard Parker scored the only goal of the match in the 56th minute after Itumeleng Khune’s quick thinking. The Bafana goalkeeper spotted his Kaizer Chiefs team-mate unmarked and Parker’s exchange with Rantie resulted in the former putting the ball in the net and sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Khune proved why he won the SA Sports Star of the Year award with a man-of-the-match performance. He also pulled off a massive save to deny Santi Cazorla the equaliser.

Rantie could have also registered his name on the score sheet earlier in the match but ballooned his effort with only substitute goalkeeper Victor Valdez to beat.

The keeper left the field in agony with what looked like a muscle injury and had to be replaced by Pepe Reina in the 80th minute but only after a touchline scuffle between the two technical teams.

Bafana coach Gordon Igesund was incensed as Spain had already exhausted their six substitutes. This did not go down well with the Spanish technical team who felt it was unsporting of Igesund. But sanity prevailed when Reina was allowed in.

The former Liverpool number one, who is on loan to Italian side Napoli, had to hit the ground running as he denied Rantie a goal. This prompted the supporters to call for Rantie’s substitution as this was his second glaring miss of the game.

It was a good game of football South Africans are unlikely to forget and they could even forgive Bafana for not qualifying for next year’s World Cup.

Bafana needed this victory to restore their pride.

They started on the back foot as they allowed the visitors to dictate terms. But as the supporters slowly trickled in, so did Bafana gain their confidence.

Bafana resorted to deploying the off-side trap and did so effectively as David Villa was, on more than one occasion, caught out. He thought he had given Spain the lead as early as the fourth minute, only for the far assistant referee to raise his flag for an offside.  As expected, Spain dominated the early exchanges with Sergio Busquets controlling the proceedings in the middle of the park.

Bafana absorbed the early pressure and gained momentum as soon as they got the measure of their Spanish opponents. Rantie used his pace effectively to unlock the Spanish defence but was isolated most of the time. Parker forced a fine save from Iker Casillas and Oupa Manyisa’s effort shaved the crossbar. Bafana were back in business.

But Spain did not just sit back and launched attacks of their own. Khune had to leave his line quickly in the 37th minute to intercept Xabi Alonso’s pass with Fernando Llorente in pursuit.

In the end, Bafana were not overawed by the occasion of playing against the big-name players and made the nation proud.

Moments that mattered:

19’: Thabo Matlaba forced the first credible save from Iker Casillas from range

48’: Rantie had an open chance to score but blasted the ball over the bar with just Valdez to beat

56’: Khune’s long ball downfield leads to Parker’s goal

68’: Parker makes a key tackle with the defenders backing off

84’: Rantie misses an easy one-on-one, shooting straight to Reina

94’: Khune makes a point blank save, saving Bafana’s bacon

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