Bafana go down fighting against Poland
Bafana Bafana held out for 82 minutes before going down 1-0 to Poland in their international friendly soccer match at the national stadium in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday.
Marcin Komorowski was on hand after a flowing move unlocked the Bafana defence, and he made no mistake with an open goal as he scored the winner for the home team.
A draw would have been a credible result for both sides, but it will be the South Africans who will rue their poor finishing.
Both sides spurned countless chances in front of goal, with Bafana keeper Itumeleng Khune taking centre stage as he kept his side level for much of the encounter. In Gordon Igesund’s third game in charge, the visitors began in lethargic fashion in bitterly cold conditions.
Bafana were close to conceding as early as the second minute. Artur Sobiech for Poland went on an unhindered run down the right, before he whipped in the cross, inside the area, only to see Adrian Mierzejewski’s powerful shot narrowly miss the target.
Bafana’s best effort of the half came from a set piece in the 21st minute. Lerato Chabangu’s free kick from 30 metres out saw Bongani Khumalo get his head to the ball, but his effort sailed just wide of goal. Khumalo’s blushes were saved as he was ruled offside.
The moment of the first period came five minutes later when Khune pulled off a spectacular save for Bafana. Arkadiusz Piech found his way behind the South African defence, but the Bafana keeper did well to smother the attempt in front of an open goal.
Bafana came out after the break with a clear plan in mind to play the game more in the Polish half.
Another probing set piece in the 51st minute asked questions of the home side’s defence. Debutant Ricardo Nunes took the responsibility with a free kick from 30 metres out on the right hand side. His left-footed curling cross found Kagisho Dikgacoi as he weaved his way in-between defenders, but his header could not find the target.
In the 59th minute, Khune pulled off a another good save. A fast Polish attack saw the Bafana keeper again stranded in a one-on-one situation, but his reaction dive was enough to get a leg in the way of the strike to deny the home side the lead.
Eight minutes later, Khune was not able to come to the rescue, but this time poor finishing cost Poland. Kamil Grosicki was allowed to run down the left touchline, and his cross linked up with his strike partner but the headed effort drifted wide.
Grosicki turned provider in the 82nd minute, with a bustling run down the right before sending the ball into the box and Komorowski nailed the chance in front of an open goal to steal the win for the home side.
Bafana player Siyabonga Sangweni did find the back of the net in the closing stages of the match, but he was ruled offside.
Bafana will next take on Kenya on Tuesday.