Nelspruit - Bernard Parker scored a brace as Bafana Bafana defeated Mozambique 2-0 in a friendly match at the Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Kaizer Chiefs striker scored early in the first half and then again late in the second to hand coach Gordon Igesund his first victory in only his second game in charge of the squad.
The hosts opened the scoring with the first chance of the match in the seventh minute when Siphiwe Tshabalala collected a loose ball on the left and played a perfect through-ball for Parker, who finished with a low left-footed shot across the goalkeeper, 1-0.
The lead was almost doubled four minutes later when a headed clearance fell for Reneilwe Letsholonyane just outside the penalty area, but his volleyed shot flew just over the crossbar.
A minute later Tshabalala’s in-swinging cross from the right found Bongani Khumalo at the near-post, but his header also went above the target.
Igesund’s side continued to look dangerous when pushing forward with Thulani Serero and Letsholonyane getting involved, but in the 21st minute Parker curled his shot wide of the post after receiving another pass from Tshabalala.
Then the visitors almost levelled matters against the run of play four minutes later when Helder Pelembe was given enough space to unleash a powerful shot from range, but his effort went inches over the crossbar.
Bafana Bafana put that scare behind them and continued to put pressure on the Mambas but Khumalo failed to get his header on target in the 31st minute, while Lerato Chabangu’s free-kick dipped over the crossbar eight minutes later.
Khumalo thought he had finally managed to get his name on the score sheet in the 41st minute when he nodded home from a Tshabalala free-kick, but his celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee who had his flag up for offside.
The home side then came close to doubling the lead three minutes into the second half when Parker broke through on the right before playing a low shot which was cleared by Zainadine Junior, who was under pressure, but the Mozambican was relieved to see the ball going over the crossbar.
Both sides then started making some changes and in the 60th minute substitute May Mahlangu beat his marker on the right before playing a low cross towards Parker at the near post, but his clever touch went straight to goalkeeper Nelson Logomale.
The Mozambican goalkeeper then pulled off a great save six minutes later to keep his side in the game as he denied Tshabalala from close range, after the winger had latched onto a pass from George Maluleka.
The second goal did finally arrive in the 87th minute from a great run from another substitute in Thamsanqa Gabuza who then played the ball across for Parker to fire home from the edge of the box following a dummy move from Siboniso Gaxa, 2-0.
The Mambas were handed one last scoring chance in the third minute of added time when goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs was robbed of possession, but his blushes were saved by defender Bevan Fransman who blocked Clesio Bauque’s goalbound shot.