Soccer

Late Bafana goal sinks Norway

2009-03-28 17:04
Bernard Parker, first goal scorer (Gallo Images)

Rustenburg - Siphiwe Tshabalala scored in stoppage time to give South Africa a 2-1 win over Norway on Saturday and their first success over European opposition in seven years.

The substitute midfielder unleashed a left-foot drive from outside the penalty area that flew past several defenders and over goalkeeper Jan Knudsen in a friendly that doubled as the Nelson Mandela Challenge.

"I knew I was going to score after working hard on my shooting in training. It was no problem starting on the bench because I believed my turn would come," said Tshabalala.

Victory was a deserved reward for 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa, who snatched a seventh-lead through Bernard Parker only to concede a soft equaliser when Morten Pedersen scored from a free kick.

South Africa last won against a European team when edging Slovenia 1-0 at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and subsequently lost to Spain, England, Iceland, Germany, Scotland and Italy.

Success will restore confidence ahead of another friendly on Tuesday against Portugal in the Swiss city of Lausanne which pits South Africa against former coach Carlos Queiroz.

"We not only won but also played well against opponents whose defensive structure made it difficult for us to penetrate," admitted Brazil-born South Africa coach Joel Santana.

Victorious captain and defender Aaron Mokoena said the mid-afternoon heat at a revamped Royal Bafokeng Stadium, a venue for the Confederations Cup and World Cup, made it difficult.

"This was a game we needed to win and the Norwegians proved tough opponents. However, we imposed our game on them and recovered well after being rattled by the equaliser."

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