USA puts an end to Pitso’s unbeaten run

2010-11-18 06:55

South Africa 0

Coach Pitso Mosimane’s unbeaten run at the helm of the national team came to a halt following a narrow defeat in the Nelson Mandela Challenge last night.

USA’s last-minute match winner also stole the thunder from Davide Somma, the 25-year-old Leeds United hot shot on whom the spotlight was cast for his much-talked-about call-up.

Somma, who had a choice to represent the US, did just enough to endear himself to the South African soccer followers, but a goal by Juan Agudelo five minutes from regulation time denied Somma a memorable debut.

Dylon Claasen also marked his first appearance for Bafana.Somma showed composure and shielded the ball well to ward off a physical American defence.

The tall striker enjoyed the backing from the capacity crowd that had descended on the World Cup venue, and subsequently got a standing ovation when he made way for Sthembiso Ngcobo.

Apart from setting up Bernard Parker in an early surge, Somma always had the US defence hard at work as he used his physical strength to good effect and, in the process, offered more than his co-striker, Parker, in the attack.Prior to his substitution, Somma almost made a breakthrough, but two defenders went at one and snuffed out a move that had a goal written all over it.

The crowd felt Somma’s substitution was premature considering that Parker had a day off, just like Siphiwe Tshabalala, who offered little contribution by his standards.

Kaizer Chiefs striker Ngcobo almost made an immediate impact, but his shot midway into the second half found the side netting.

Coach Bob Bradley’s charges maintained their shape throughout and, despite rough play in the beginning, the US team showed maturity as the game grew older and used their pace to intimidate the hosts. They were particularly effective on the wings.

It was virtually a new team compared with the side that featured in the World Cup in South Africa.In the places of recognisable World Cup stars such as midfielders Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and striker Jozy Altidore, the US used last night’s event to blood in youngsters as they did in the same tournament at Ellis Park three years ago, where they also lifted the trophy.

Last night’s game was Bafana’s first match in the Mother City in three years since their 3-1 demolition by Zambia at Newlands Stadium during the 2007 Nations Cup qualifiers.

How they lined up
South Africa: Itumeleng Khune – Anele Ngcongca, Morgan Gould, Siyabonga Sangweni, Tsepo Masilela – Steven Pienaar (Daylon Claasen 78th), Thanduyise Khuboni (Matthew Pattison 86th), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Andile Jali 59th), Siphiwe Tshabalala – Davide Somma (Sthembiso Ngcobo 59th), Bernard Parker (Kermit Erasmus 86th)

USA: Brad Guzan – Eric Lichaj, Tim Ream (Nat Borches 67th), Clarence Goodson (Gale Agbossoumonde 84th), Jonathan Bornstein (Jonathan Spector 46th) – Alejandro Bedoya (Mikel Diskerud 78th), Logan Pause, Brian Carroll, Robie Rogers (Juan Agubelo 59th) – Eddie Gaven, Robie Findlay Teal Bunbury 46th).

» Meanwhile, South Africa Under-23 put four past their Botswana counterparts in a curtain raiser played earlier on.

George Maluleke scored twice in the opening half while Bongani Ndulula and Enrico Adolf scored in the second half to seal the deal in the friendly international.Shakes Mashaba’s charges should have translated their dominance into goals more than what was reflected on the score line at the end of the show.

Still, there were positives that came out of the side that was mostly dominated by Absa Premiership players.

Following the early elimination of the Under-17 and Under-20s in the continental competitions, there seems to be hope for the Under-23s in the build-up to the 2012 Olympics in London.

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