Bafana suffer narrow defeat
Sau Paulo - Gordon Igesund’s first match in charge of South Africa ended in a narrow 1-0 defeat to Brazil in an international friendly played here on Friday night.
A late goal from former Porto attacker Hulk was all that separated the teams.
Igesund fielded two debutants in his starting XI, Dean Furman and Dino Ndlovu, and also threw Lerato Chabangu straight into the fray on his return to the national team.
Brazil dominated the first half, but South Africa created the opening scoring opportunity on 12 minutes when right-back Siboniso Gaxa surged clear down the right of the penalty area, only to see his low shot well saved at the near post by goalkeeper Diego Alves.
From then on it was the hosts creating all the scoring chances in the remainder of the first half, but they found Itumeleng Khune in vintage form. The Bafana Bafana goalkeeper produced fine saves to keep out efforts from Dede, Lucas Moura and Neymar.
South Africa suffered injury problems in the build-up to the match when several players of the original squad pulled out, and their bad luck in this regard continued when Ndlovu was forced off with a shoulder injury, leading to the introduction of veteran Benni McCarthy just after the half hour mark.
Yet the Orlando Pirates striker last just over ten minutes himself before suffering what looked a serious hamstring injury, and Bernard Parker became Igseund’s second unscheduled substitution within the first 45 minutes.
Bafana improved as an attacking force after the break and had the Brazilian defence under real pressure on several occasions, most notably in the 50th minute when Parker worked space for a low cross which was almost bundled into his own net by Brazilian defender Dede; had he missed it, Siphiwe Tshabalala would have had a tap-in.
Bafana then began to sit back and as a result handed their opponents the attacking impetus. On 70 minutes Khune was again called upon to make an excellent save, palming away a goal-bound free kick from Neymar.
Four minutes later Brazil took the lead. Khune kept out a shot to the near post by David Luiz, but substitute Hulk latched onto the rebound and fired an unstoppable volley into the back of the net. The goal was enough to hand Brazil victory on the 190th anniversary of their independence from Portugal.
Brazil (0) 1 (Hulk 75’)
South Africa 0
Brazil: Diego Alves, Dani Alves, David Luiz, Dede, Marcelo (Alex Sandro 60’), Lucas Moura, Romulo (Paulinho 64’), Ramires, Oscar, Leandro Damiao (Hulk 64’), Neymar (Arouca 90’)
SA: Khune, Gaxa, Khumalo, Sangweni, Masenamela, Furman (Mahlangu 59’), Dikgacoi, Tshabalala, Chabangu (Letsholonyane 56’), Ndlovu (McCarthy 33’ [Parker 44’]), Serero (Maluleka 76’)