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Football | Bafana Bafana

Reneilwe Letsholonyana and Sunday Mba © Gallo Images

Super Eagles soar over Bafana



Nigeria strengthened their credentials as the best team on the African continent when they defeated South Africa 2-0 in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Wednesday.

Substitute Uche Nwafor netted a brace as the Super Eagles proved to be more clinical in front of goal, while Bafana were unable to convert their chances.

The visitors unlocked the Bafana Bafana defence in the 11th minute with a long ball that almost fell for Nnamdi Oduamadi, but Itumeleng Khune came out of his line to make a brave interception before gathering the ball.

Three minutes later it was the hosts who threatened with long range efforts at the other end, but Reneilwe Letsholonyane saw his shot blocked on the edge of the box before Tshepo Masilela fired wide moments later.

Gordon Igesund’s side had a much better chance to take the lead in the 24th minute when Bernard Parker broke through on the right before delivering a low ball across the goalmouth, but Siphiwe Tshabalala arrived late at the far post.

The Super Eagles came even closer three minutes later when John Ogu tried to pick his spot with the left-footed curler from outside the penalty area, but the ball clipped the crossbar with Khune seemingly beaten.

The action was back at the other end in the 32nd minute when Rantie collected the ball on the turn and cut in from the right before driving the ball from the edge of the box, but his shot went straight to Austine Ejide.

Shots continued to fly in from range and a minute later Obinna Nsofor almost caught Khune with an effort which bounced awkwardly, but the Bafana Bafana goalkeeper was able to make the block before one of his defenders cleared the danger.

Both sides had chances to break the deadlock just before the break, but Ogu was denied by a decent save from Khune in the 41st minute, while Tokelo Rantie drilled his effort against the side netting a minute later.

Bafana should have taken the lead on the stroke of halftime when Rantie raced through on the left before cutting the ball back towards Letsholonyane, but the Kaizer Chiefs man was denied by an excellent block from Godfrey Oboabona.

The home side threatened early but Ejide made two brilliant saves in quick succession in the 47th minute to block a curled freekick from Parker before slapping Nthethe’s overhead shot wide of the upright.

However, it was the Super Eagles who eventually opened the scoring a minute later as Nwafor beat Khune with a clever back-heel after the ball fell loose inside the penalty area.

Igesund made his first substitution on the hour mark, bringing on Luyolo Nomandela for Phala and five minutes later the debutant set up Letsholonyane, who disappointingly fired over the crossbar from the edge of the area.

The visitors doubled their advantage in the 68th minute with all three halftime substitutes combining; Victor Moses released Ahmed Musa on the right, who then played the ball across for Nwafor to slot into an empty net at the far post.

Letsholonyane had another chance to pull a goal back for the home side a minute later, he did get his shot on target this time around, but the effort lacked the power and direction to trouble Ejide.

The home side continued to press on for the goal but substitute Lerato Chabangu saw his effort sailing just over the crossbar in the 76th minute, while Parker’s freekick also met the same fate.

Then it was Tshabalala who twice came close to reducing the deficit, only for his freekick to be deflected just wide of the upright in the 88th minute before he was denied by a save from Ejide in added time.

The last chance of the match fell for Bafana’s final substitute Lebogang Manyama deep into injury time, but his low shot fizzed just wide of the post as the Super Eagles held on to keep their clean sheet.

South Africa: 0
Nigeria (0) 2 (Nwafor 48’ 68’)

TEAMS:

South Africa: Khune, Masilela, Nthethe, Tshabalala, Letsholonyane (Chabangu 72’), Mathoho, Furman, Parker (Manyama 80’), Phala (Nomandela 60’), Hlatshwayo, Rantie

Nigeria: Ejide, Oboabona, Echiejile, Ogu, Ambrose, Egwuekwe (Okwuosa 77’), Ameobi (Nwafor 46’), Oduamadi (Ideye 78’), Onazi, Nsofor (Musa 46’), Mba (Moses 46’)

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