Bafana Bafana stun Spain

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa recorded a famous 1-0 win over World and European champions Spain in an international friendly at FNB Stadium on Tuesday night.Bernard Parker scored the decisive goal 10 minutes into the second half as Bafana Bafana racked up a victory that will boost both their self-confidence and placing in Fifa World Rankings.

Spain dominated the opening quarter hour and enjoyed the majority of possession, though they didn’t really create any clear scoring chances. Striker David Villa twice had the ball in the back of the net for the visitors, but he was correctly flagged offside on both occasions.

Bafana Bafana gradually grew into the game and on 18 minutes they almost opened the scoring via a deflected Oupa Manyisa shot that bounced away off the top of the crossbar with goalkeeper Iker Casillas left stranded.

Two minutes later Casillas was called upon to make the first notable save of the match, punching away a well-struck long-range effort from Bernard Parker.

Juventus forward Fernando Llorente had a free header in the 27th minute after some weak defending from Bongani Khumalo, but the tall Spaniard put his effort wide of the target with only Itumeleng Khune to beat.

The last chance of the first half went the way of Khumalo in injury time. The centre-back got on the end of Parker’s corner kick, but put his header wide of the near post to leave the game goalless at the break.

Bafana also created the first clear opening of the second half, with Tokelo Rantie put free on goal down the right of the penalty area, but he blazed a shot over the bar when a square pass may have seen Parker score a tap-in.

On 54 minutes Spain created a great chance to break the deadlock, with left-back Nacho Monreal put through on goal, but his attempt to beat Khune at his near post was well saved by the goalkeeper.

Two minutes later Bafana Bafana took the lead against the run of play. Rantie played a low cross from the left, Oupa Manyisa provided a perfectly weighted ball for the run of Parker, who was able to chip substitute goalkeeper Victor Valdes and find the back of the net despite an attempted clearance on the goal line.

Spain ran into a problem late in the game when ‘keeper Valdes went down with a knee injury and was forced off the pitch with the visitors having used up their allotted six substitutions. Alvaro Arbeloa initially put on the goalkeeper’s jersey, but – after much argument on the sidelines – Pepe Reina was allowed on and the visitors were able to end the game with a full complement of players.

Reina made a crucial save in the 85th minute to deny Rantie one-on-one and keep the Spaniards in with a chance of rescuing the game, but it wasn’t to be for the World Cup winners, whose return to FNB Stadium ended in defeat. – Reuters

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