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Thu Apr 24 05:40:40 SAST 2014

Brave Bafana narrowly beaten by Brazil

TEAMtalk Media | 08 September, 2012 07:400 Comments
Brazil's Hulk (R) kicks the ball against South Africa's Bongani Khumalo during their international friendly soccer match in Sao Paulo September 7, 2012
Image by: Nacho Doce / REUTERS

Brazil narrowly defeated South Africa 1-0 at the Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo on Friday in Gordon Igesund's first match in charge of the national team.

Substitute Hulk scored the only goal of the Independence Day tie with his strike coming in the 74th minute.

Bafana Bafana matched their more illustrious opponents for much of the match although they were severley hampered in attack when Benni McCarthy, who had come on for the injured Dino Ndlovu pulled up shortly after being introduced and had to be replaced by Bernard Parker.

The hosts started brightly although Neymar and company were kept quiet for much of the first half.

Ramirez and Marcelo combined well in the early moments but Man of the Match Itumeleng Khune was equal to everything they threw at him.

Siboniso Gaxa had South Africa's first real chance as he played a neat one-two on the edge of the Brazil box before drawing a near post save from Diego Alves.

Khune made a superb one-handed save to keep out a powerful Anderson Silva header from a Neymar free-kick from wide on the right before Gaxa got a vital touch to a perfect cross for Neymar, on the left of the goal, to send the ball high into the stands.

Leandro Damiao then stungs the palms of Khune with a fierce drive that the Bafana stopper did well to keep out - although the shot was straight at him.

Unimpressed with what they were witnessing, the home fans began to boo their own players but Neymar tried to lift the mood with a half-volley that Khune kept out with his chest.

Oscar did well to get the better of Siyabonga Sangweni down the right flank before crossing from the byline only to see his pass is intercepted - this before Lerato Chabangu watched as his fierce drive just flew over the bar.

Parker then created Bafana's best chance as he cut inside David Luiz before sending in a low cross that was somehow steered over the crossbar.

Punch Masenamela was next to send in a low cross from the left but Parker was unable to get to the ball in time to stick a boot in.

Brazil continued to threaten as Leandro Damiao hit the side netting after being set up by Oscar after Neymar forced Khune into a low save.

Khune was at his best again, with the match winding down as he brilliantly tipped over a Neymar free-kick that was heading into the far top corner of the net.

But he was unable to deny Hulk from smashing a volley into the back of the net after first saving from Luiz.

South Africa went to sleep for a second as a floated ball over the top found Luiz out wide on the left when everyone in a green and gold shirt thought he was off-side.

Khune made the save at his near post but was unable to keep out Hulk's thunderous drive as he reacted quickest to chip the ball up so he could volley home.

Bafana went in search of an equaliser but just failed to find that final ball to get in behind the Brazil defence while the hosts continued to test Khune.

Neymar hit the side netting after cutting inside Gaxa before Dani Alves smashed a shot just over the target from 20 yards out.

Try as they might the visitors were unable to find a way through but they must feel proud of themselves after an impressive performance. They were unlucky with the goal and perhaps deserved a draw.

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Brave Bafana narrowly beaten by Brazil

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