Port Elizabeth - Bafana Bafana could have played a lot worse than they did in defeating Trinidad and Tobago 2-1 in a friendly international to promote the South African 2010 World Cup bid campaign played at Telkom Park on Saturday.
The teams were level 1-1 at half-time.
The home sided needed a disputed penalty in the 71st minute to subdue the "Soca Warriors" from the Caribbean. Trinidad were reduced to 10 men after the penalty when defender Brent Sancho was shown the red card by Botswana referee Boniface Mpfu for a foul on Lesley Manyathela that resulted in the penalty which was taken by Manyathela.
There were some good moments shown by the Bafana side but the poor condition of the pitch, which is used for rugby, did not help either side. However, it was a distinct disadvantage to the more skilful South Africans and at the end of the day the 28 000-strong crowd got their money's worth. So did the bid campaign and the special guest of honour, Fifa vice-president Jack Warner who again stressed his support for the South African World Cup bid.
Bafana looked the better side in a fast flowing first half in which the players battled on the poor surface. The visitors, however, had an early chance when midfielder Travis Mulraine hit the ball over the crossbar after teammate Hector Sam had beaten the home defence with a clever cross in the seventh minute.
Two minutes later Bafana defender Tony Coyle picked up the ball inside his half, raced forward but his final shot sailed over the upright. On 10 minutes Trinidad goalkeeper Clayton Ince did well to stop a goal bound header from Manyathela on his goalline from a Lucky Lekgwathi corner.
The home side were dazzling the crowd with some neat ball skills. But against the run of play the "Soca Warriors" hit on the counter-attack and it took a good save from keeper Brian Baloyi to deny Sam, who plays for Wrexham, the opening goal in the 16th minute.
However, Bafana's pressure told in the 19th minute when Orlando Pirates star Manyathela blasted a shot from the edge of the penalty area off the underside of the crossbar, beating the agile Ince hands down. Good follow up work saw debutant David Radebe make sure of the goal by blasting the rebound into the net, but Manyathela had already started celebrating his second goal for his country in nine appearances.
However, poor defending, and a piece of bad goalkeeping from Baloyi gifted the Caribbean visitors an equaliser in the 24th minute.
Bafana skipper Mbulelo Mabizela was lucky not to have conceded a penalty in the 36th minute when he appeared to have fouled Sam inside the penalty area. But that blemish apart Mabizela, the Premier Soccer League Player of the Season, weighed in with some timely challenges and showed that he is a special talent and is a player with a bright future.
A minute later Bafana started getting their passing together and Stanton Fredericks shot tamely at Ince after some good build-up.
Bafana continued to dominate in the second half but again their finishing let them down. Radebe allowed himself to be bundled off the ball in the 56th minute when he wasted a chance to give his side the lead.
A good save by Baloyi form a Silvio Spann free kick denied the "Soca Warriors" a goal on the hour. This was the Kaizer Chiefs keeper's last action as he was substituted by Andre Arendse a minute later.
Lekgwathi who enjoyed a good match had a weak shot save by Ince in the 62nd minute as the right back decided to push forward and help his forwards.
Then came the penalty and Sancho being shown the red card for what appeared dissent. Manyathela gave Ince no chance with a powerfully struck spot kick to make it 2-1 in the 71st minute.
Radebe had another effort blocked by the in-form Ince in the 77th minute has Bafana tried to take advantage of their extra man. Bafana pushed hard for another gaol but were thwarted by god goalkeeping from Ince. - Sapa