Durban - Bafana Bafana have lost 2-0 to AFCON champions Nigeria in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Wednesday evening.
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Uche Nwafor came off the bench to score a brace to seal the South Africans' fate.
Both sides had a number of chances but the Super eagles proved to be stronger in the second half after making telling changes with the Nwafor, Victor Moses and Ahmed Musa coming at the break to reinforce the attack.
The match got off to a slow start but in the 11th minute Itumeleng Khune was forced to come out of his line to intercept a long pass that was destined for Nnamdi Oduamadi, while Tshepo Masilela fired wide at the other end three minutes later.
Bernard Parker then managed to get behind the defence on the left in the 24th minute, but his low cross fizzed across goal despite Siphiwe Tshabalala’s diving attempt at the far post.
Three minutes later, John Ogu came closer to opening the crossbar with a brilliant curled effort which brushed the top of the crossbar.
In the 32nd minute Rantie went on a solo run just outside the box, but his final effort produced a comfortable save from Austine Ejide, who was well-positioned.
Khune’s save was less comfortable a minute later as Obinna Nsofor’s shot bounced just in front of him, but he managed to keep the ball out before he was rescued by one of his defenders.
The Bafana Bafana captain was back in action again in the 41st minute, this time diving to his right to save another long-range effort from Ogu.
The last two chances of the half fell for the home side, with Tokelo Rantie rattling the side netting from the right in the 42nd minute, while Reneilwe Letsholonyane saw his goal bound shot blocked by Godfrey Oboabona.
Bafana Bafana won a free kick on the left in the 47th minute, Parker went for goal but drew a good save from Ejide and the Super Eagles captain recovered in time to stop parry a follow-up effort from Thabo Nthethe.
The opening goal arrived just a minute later as Nwafor reacted the quickest inside the box to beat Khune with a well-directed back-heel.
Letsholonyane should have done better in the 65th minute after he was teed up by Luyolo Nomandela, but he sent his shot over the crossbar.
The visitors proved to be more clinical and doubled their lead three minutes later from a brilliant move which saw Nwafor grabbing his brace with an easy tap-in, connecting with a low cross from Ahmed Musa.
Bafana pushed forward in search if their first goal of the match but Lerato Chabangu shot over the crossbar in the 76th minute before Parker also curled his freekick over the target two minutes later.
The hosts had more chances to pull one goal back but Tshabalala saw his freekick deflected wide in the 88th minute before his solid strike was well-held by Ejide during added time.
Substitute Lebogang Manyama also had an effort at goal in the dying seconds of the match, but his low shot skidded wide of the post.
South Africa: (0) 0
Nigeria: (0) 2 (Nwafor 48’ 68’)
Itumeleng Khune, Erick Mathoho, Thabo Nthethe, Thulani
Hlatshwayo, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Dean Furman, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Thuso
Phala, Bernard Parker, Tsepo Masilela, Tokelo Rantie
Substitutes: Wayne Sandilands, Tshepo Gumede, Buhle
Mkhwanazi, Marc van Heerden, Lerato Chabangu, Hlompho Kekana, David Mathebula,
Bongani Zungu, Lebogang Manyama, Luyola Nomandela
Austin Ejide, Efe Ambrose, Godfrey Oboabona, Azubuike
Egwuekwe, Elderson Echiejile, Sunday Mba, John Ogu, Ogenyi Onazi; Obinna
Nsofor, Shola Ameobi, Nnamdi Oduamadi
Substitutes: Fengor Ogude, Ahmed Musa, Brown Ideye, Chigozie Agbim, Uche Nwafor, Gege Soriola, James Okwuosa, Victor Moses