Shabba, Nomandela secure win for Bafana
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Johannesburg – Goals from Siphiwe Tshabalala and Luyolo Nomandela handed Bafana Bafana a 2-0 victory over Burkina Faso at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
The hard-fought, international friendly formed part of the inaugural Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day.
Tshabalala's first-half strike looked like settling the result, before Lerato Chabangu and Nomandela partnered for the second, wrapping-up a show of dominance from Bafana.
Following their defeat against Nigeria just three days earlier, the hosts returned to winning ways on Saturday, and could have done so more emphatically, were it not for a number of missed opportunities in front of goal.
The visitors were without several of their star players, owing to club commitments overseas, yet South Africa struggled to wrap-up the result, following a positive start.
Igesund handed three players debut starts, with Marc van Heerden, Bongani Zungu and David Mathebula all included in the starting XI.
The newcomers showed maturity in their first outing, with Mathebula and Zungu particularly lively in the middle of the park, while Van Heerden looked comfortable along the left flank.
Zungu was instrumental in Bafana's opener, supplying Tshabalala with a measured ball through the heart of the Burkinabe defence.
Mathebula took a shot after some good work in midfield teed-up a promising opportunity, but he skied his effort high and wide of the mark.
He was brought down on the edge of the area shortly afterwards, earning Bafana a set-piece in a dangerous position, but Bernard Parker's attempt was kept out with a glancing header.
In the 22nd minute, Zungu's deadly ball through the middle set up Tshabalala, which allowed the Kaizer Chiefs' attacker time and space to turn and shoot, tucking his effort into the bottom left of goal.
Having taken the lead, Bafana took their foot off the pedal somewhat, as Burkina Faso started finding their rhythm in the final third of the SA half.
The home side came alive again four minutes from the interval, first through Reneilwe Letsholonyane, who struck the upright from a long way out, before Parker forced a superb stop from goalkeeper Mohamed Kabore to deny Bafana another goal.
Bafana started the second half much as they done in the first, but Letsholonyane's shot was blocked after Zungu laid up another dangerous delivery on the edge of the area.
Parker continued to work his way into good areas in the Burkinabe box, leading to a goal in the 57th minute, but it was disallowed for offside.
Van Heerden narrowly missed out on making a dream start to his international career in the 72nd minute, after the AmaZulu defender rattled the crossbar from a free-kick outside the area.
With their lead intact, the home side bided their time and were eventually rewarded when second-half replacement Chabangu broke through the Burkinabe defence, getting his shot away.
Kabore got a solid hand to the shot, but fellow substitute Nomandela was on hand to tap home on the line, securing the victory in the 90th minute. – Sapa