Late USA goal stuns Bafana

2010-11-18 00:00

Cape Town - A late goal from Juan Agudelo was enough to hand USA the Nelson Mandela Challenge trophy and end Bafana Bafana's unbeaten run under Pitso Mosimane.

The 17-year-old beat Itumeleng Khune at his near post in the 84th minute to repeat the scoreline from three years ago in the same competition and with the same opponents as winners.

Before that killer blow for the hosts, the 50 000 strong crowd in the Mother City seemed to rewind to the World Cup as chants, buzzing vuvuzelas, Mexican waves and the sound of Waka Waka echoed around the venue.

South Africa were the better side in the first 45 minutes and in the opening stanza of play, they starved the USA of the ball, much like the locals have been made to pant to see the national team perform on Cape shores.

The atmosphere had a positive effect on Bafana. They bossed proceedings and in the seventh minute, debutante Davide Somma displayed his skills set by holding up the ball, playing in Steven Pienaar and making a quick, short run, but the skipper was unable to complete the one-two.

Moments later, the in-form Leeds United striker silenced his doubters with fast feet and predatory instincts. Tsepo Masilela broke down the left and tried to pick out an unmarked Pienaar in the box, but his effort was blocked. A shot then bounced off Somma and the striker was quick to react. As he was about to pull the trigger, he was hacked down and decent shouts for a penalty were ignored by the referee.

Somma, question by most ahead of the game for his loyalty to the national-team jersey, had nearly every Bafana fan calling for him to be awarded the Man-of-the-Match prize by half-time, which he did indeed lift.

The 25-year-old was substituted shortly after the break and his replacement Sthembiso Ngcobo was not able to match Somma's contribution.

The Kaizer Chiefs ace found the side netting in the 64th minute as USA grew into the game in the second period.

There were fewer chances after the interval and the encounter seemed destined to end in a draw. But Agudelo, who made his debut, took his first chance on the left of the box after receiving a neat, short pass and blasted his effort past Khune into the roof of the net at the near post.

Bafana pressed hard in the final few minutes, with Siphiwe Tshabalala in particular trying his best to force the equaliser from set pieces and goalmouth melees.

Three years ago, a Steve Cherundolo goal lifted USA to a 1-0 victory against South Africa at Ellis Park. The venue may have been different, but Bradley conceded in the post-match press conference that this country is a happy hunting ground for his men.

Bafana have never beaten Team America, but will now shift their attentions to the double header against Egypt next year in the African Nations Cup qualifiers.

2010 has brought South Africa a mixed bag of results, but hosting a successful World Cup and jumping to 50th in the world rankings surely illustrates Bafana are moving in the right direction.

Those clashes against the Pharaohs will show just how far they have progressed.


South Africa: 16 Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), 5 Anele Ngcongca (Genk, Belgium), 3 Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa, Israel), 23 Morgan Gould (SuperSport United), 21 Siyabonga Sangweni (Lamontville Golden Arrows), 13 Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham, England), 18 Thanduyise Khuboni (Arrows), 10 Steven Pienaar (captain, Everton, England), 8 Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs), 19 Davide Somma (Leeds United, England) and 17 Bernard Parker (FC Twente, Holland).

Substitutes: 1 Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates), 2 Siboniso Gaxa (Lierse, Belgium), 14 Bevan Fransman (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel), 11 Teko Modise (Orlando Pirates), 12 Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Chiefs), 24 Kermit Erasmus (SuperSport United), 20 Sthembiso Ngcobo (Chiefs), 4 Keegan Ritchie (Moroka Swallows), 9 Matthew Pattison (Mamelodi Sundowns), 15 Andile Jali and (Pirates) and Siyanda Xulu (Mamelodi Sundowns).

USA: 18 Brad Guzan (captain, Aston Villa), 5 Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), 7 Alejandro Bedoya (rebro), 8 Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), 11 Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), 12 Jonathan Bornstein (Tigres), 13 Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa), 15 Logan Pause (Chicago Fire), 16 Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew), 20 Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake) and 21 Clarence Goodson (Brondby).

Substitutes: 2 Jonathan Spector (West Ham United), 6 Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake), 9 Teal Bunbury (Kansas City Wizards), 14 Mikkel Diskerud (Stabaek), 17 Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), 22 Gale Agbossoumonde (Estoril Praia) and 23 Dominic Cervi (Celtic).
Referee: Silvester Kirwa (Kenya).


  • Renny - 2010-11-18 06:40

    You guys didn't actually think that we could beat the USA, they are a formidable side.

      Observer - 2010-11-18 08:24

      Why not? They may be a formidable side, but we do have the talent, do we not? It's just a matter of getting the guys to pick the easy pass, to finish. I'm not saying we're going to be world champs (yet), but we can definitely improve and start to challenge the better teams.

      cheekibun - 2010-11-18 11:25

      I agree with Observer...we need to nurture them. SA Soccer is still very much up and coming and trying to build the talent we need…we have it, we just need to grow it

  • dirk.r.carstens - 2010-11-18 06:43

    soccer is sooo overated.....watchy some rugby boys....the boys are playing in the top nations and see the beat-down the boys will get....

      BardofAvon - 2010-11-18 07:09

      Dude, if you don't like soccer.... don't watch.

      Observer - 2010-11-18 08:25

      "watchy some rugby boys" - you write like you're in kindergarden.

  • ArtGee - 2010-11-18 06:45

    I thought they were going to SOMMA beat them!!!

      BardofAvon - 2010-11-18 07:10

      ha ha...!

  • AJ - 2010-11-18 07:23

    There's no shame on that score-line, especially when BB looked good for a large part of it and only conceding a goal in the 84th. The team have done well of late and the rankings move upwards is proof of this.

  • ArtGee - 2010-11-18 08:11

    Only reason they moved UP is that SEHPP did them a favour. After lastnights game, they moved BACK to 85th place! SAD excuse for a football team.... why not put LUCAS there as the COACH? Far superior person for the job!

  • Shannon Wright - 2010-11-18 08:19

    This was USA's reserve side. Only two of the starting WC side played; the rest were called up from the youth teams and second-tier clubs. The kid who scored is 17. For all the big talk about Bafana, they couldn't beat the American's junior club.

      Lunga - 2010-11-18 10:17

      Brad Guzan Eddie Gaven Jonathan Spector Alejandro Bedoya Eric Lichaj Tim Ream Yeah... reserve side. New York Red Bull Columbus Chicago Real Salt Late Yeah, second tier clubs. Juan Agudelo, 17-years-old... So was Benni at one stage.

      Shannon Wright - 2010-11-18 15:43

      Exactly: that's our reserve side. Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore, Bradley, Bocanegra, Holden, Howard--that's the A team. The *most* experienced player on this side had 24 caps for the national team; 5 of them had *never* played for the national team before last night. How else do you define a reserve side? It's below reserve, it's "call that high school and see if their playoffs are over and we can borrow their striker." Howard and Pienaar both play for Everton. Pienaar came for the game; Howard didn't. Bradley wanted to rest his star players and try out some new talent. He's building toward 2014; winning last night, while nice, was not his goal; his goal was to play different combinations (that's why he played ALL his bench except the reserve GK) and see how they looked. Mission accomplished, and with a win to boot. Nicely done, boys.

  • shanklys.kin - 2010-11-18 09:47

    Renny, we had enough chances to beat them. Just couldn't take them because their defense was so packed. Really liked the look of Davide Somma. I think with good service, that guy will get goals for us. He has a good touch, his runs are good, very strong on the ball, not selfish, made some intelligent passes. He looks like he can play as a target man or a second striker. I think his cap is probably one of the biggest hi-lights of the game. The bad part is how we battled to get through the US' midfield. Dominated possession but couldn't do anything with it. It was a decent performance, considering some of the players were not Bafana regulars.

  • jka - 2010-11-18 09:58

    we were there - the atmosphere was incredible. congrats on a very well organised event, cape town! the guys played hard - its a pity about the late goal, but we were so proud of their effort!

  • Leonard - 2010-11-18 10:15

    The game was not a classic but it was a win for the city of Cape Town who was always critisised that there will be a lack of fans but we showed them wrong . Maybe now they will stop playing in Gauteng only. And maybe they can also come and look for new players here in cape town i know a few local guys much better than what played laast night

  • randalllakay - 2010-11-18 10:19

    @south africa - to all the supporters who were at the stadium, you guys were awesome!!! the actual soccer was pedestrian, first touches way too hard, crosses always a yard or two behind the player, shabba and somma diving all over the place was pathetic and the finishing was rubbish well apart from the 17 year old that is. the state of soccer in the psl is abysmal and continuing to choose the bulk of the squad from psl teams means we'll continue to perform well below average. Once again congratulations to the supporters you were the best part of last nights game ....

  • cas.hulsbosch - 2010-11-18 11:06

    It was a USA B-side, but the main difference between the two teams is how these players have been developed from a young age. If you look at the money that is being poured into football in the USA, with top pitches, couch training, football schools, football courses, etc then it doesn't surprise me that the USA B-side necessarily have better players, but are more organised and tactically aware. SA needs to invest heavily at grass roots level, at amateur level. Cape Town amateur leagues hardly have a single pitch which is decent enough to play on. Amateur and kids couches have never had any training and many kids in SA still play on fields with no goals (how can you ever be aware of the goal then). Once significant investments have been made, will we see the improvements in our players in the next 10 to 20 years. Not any sooner!

      cas.hulsbosch - 2010-11-18 11:07

      with couches I mean coaches... we've all had enough couch training over the years!!

  • cheekibun - 2010-11-18 11:23

    Some people really irritate me, watch rugby, bafana played a jnr US team...BLA BLA I was at almost every FIFA 2010 WC game, I went to support my country last night, win or loose I was proud to wear my gold bafana top, I was proud at our boys when they messed up and I was proud to sing MY countrys anthem...we shouted UNITED WE SHALL STAND.....50000 people strong South Africans. When the Bokke play, I put on my Green top and march off to battle with them..not because they one of the best becuase they represent my country..same I will do for bafana win or loose. for those who say bad things about SA and our boys in gold and green....move to AUS, UK and Canada....where all the other unloving south african are.

  • Kent - 2010-11-18 12:20

    this was one of the worst football matches I ever saw. If it wouldn't have been for the atmosphere (...and the support for the CT Stadium) I would have regret the (very reasonable) ticket price of R 100.00. (...or is this what you get for R 100?) Even the media is trying to cover up the low quality of this match. It was an USA B team (would have not expected anything else in the middle of the European soccer season) against an SA A team which has not progressed at all since the WC, except the size of their egos!

  • Ben Rootman - 2010-11-18 12:57

    But what was the final score!

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