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Bafana stun world champions
November 20 2013 at 07:35am
By Jonty Mark
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Bernard Parker celebrates his goal during the International Friendly match between South Africa and Spain at FNB Stadium. Photo: Duif du Toithigh quality replica watches
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Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana might not be going to the World Cup but they can at least go into next year claiming the scalp of the world champions, Spain vanquished on an enthralling night.
La Roja had returned to commemorate their World Cup 2010 triumph at this very stadium, captain Iker Casillas even lifting a replica trophy before kick-off. But it was the hosts that somewhat pooped the party, Bernard Parker’s fine goal handing Gordon Igesund’s side a tremendous win.
Granted, this was only a friendly, and Spain have far important matters to deal with in Brazil in a few months time.
But beating the world’s best side in any game is no mean feat. Aside from the Confederation Cup final against Brazil earlier this year, this was the first game Vicente Del Bosque’s group of global superstars have lost since they were beaten by England in November 2011.
How much it mattered to Igesund was clear as towards the end, he attempted to stop Spain from substituting their injured goalkeeper Victor Valdes, having used all their allotted replacements.
It was ludicrous behaviour, and eventually the Bafana coach saw sense, Pepe Reina coming on. Bafana saw out the game, with one final, brilliant save from Itumeleng Khune to deny Alvaro Negredo. Most of a fervent crowd, that grew to a healthy 50000 or so as the game progressed, chanted their Bafana captain’s name.
Bafana made a nervy start to the game, and for a while it looked like Spain’s pretty passing patterns might just carve through them at will.
Andres Iniesta and Xabi Alonso moved the ball imperiously through midfield, the latter recovering from a knock to start, and spraying around his trademark cross-field passes.
In the fourth minute, a slide-rule pass from Iniesta went right through the heart of the Bafana defence, via a slight deflection, and David Villa rounded Khune and fired home. The linesman’s flag, however, ruled Villa offside, not that the stadium announcer noticed, blaring out a Villa goal over the PA system.
Another wonderful Spanish move then set up Iniesta with an opportunity, but from long range he ballooned his effort over.
Bafana were allowing Spain a little too much room in midfield at this stage, the trio of Oupa Manyisa, Andile Jali and Dean Furman taking time to find their feet.
Once they did, however, Bafana surged back into the match, pressing Spain well, and utilising the pace of Tokelo Rantie.
Spain continued to threaten, Fernando Llorente, playing alongside Villa in attack, heading over from Alvaro Arbeloa’s cross.
But Bafana were giving as good as they got, and one fine passing move saw Parker find Daylon Claasen, who shot over, with Spain giving Igesund’s men plenty of time on the edge of their own box.
Bafana were moving the ball well on the counter attack, with Jali especially influential.
The main problem for Bafana was their final ball, too often lacking as they powered towards the Spanish net.
Alonso fired a free-kick just wide of the near post five minutes before the break, while on the stroke of halftime, Bafana defender Bongani Khumalo headed inches wide from Manyisa’s corner.
Igesund threw on Siphiwe Tshabalala for Claasen at the break, and he set up Rantie with a glorious opportunity two minutes after half-time. The Bournemouth striker, however, blazed over.
At the other end, Spain created an excellent chance as Iniesta’s pass sent in Nacho Monreal, but Khune made a fine save.
And it was Bafana who took the lead with a glorious move. Khune’s long kick was flicked on by Parker, and Rantie harried Raul Albiol off the ball.
His cut-back was directed for Parker, who dummied, and was then found by Manyisa inside the box, chipping his shot over Valdes, with Arsenal defender Monreal unable to clear off the line to seal a famous win.
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