A late strike spoiled the party for Bafana Bafana as they went down 1-0 against five-time World Champions Brazil in an international friendly in Sao Paulo on Friday night.
Speaking after the match Bafana coach Gordon Igesund said he was pleased with the result.
“I’m very satisfied with the result. We created quite a few good chances and this was a good start for us.”
Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune pulled off a number of stunning saves to keep his side in the game, and said Bafana came close to pulling off a surprise.
“We gave them no respect. We came here and we meant business,” said Khune.
“The result was just unfortunate. The nation should be proud.”
Igesund, in his first match in charge of the national team, said beforehand they wanted to take the game to the hosts and put pressure on the Brazilian defence.
The plan worked early on and the South Africans found a couple of gaps, with Siphiwe Tshabalala blasting an effort across the goalmouth from the edge of the area in the eighth minute.
Soon after, Siboniso Gaxa had a close-range shot saved by Brazil goalkeeper Diego Alves. Then the hosts took control.
Khune was repeatedly called to action, with Dede taking perhaps the best chance of the opening period when he connected with a free kick from Neymar that was tipped over the crossbar in the 16th minute.
Khune was again on form when he saved a low shot from Daniel Alves. He held onto another in a one-on-one with Neymar in the dying stages of the first half.
Bafana came out with determination in the second stanza. Lerato Chabangu and Gaxa both had well-taken long-range efforts that sailed centimetres over the bar within 15 minutes of the break.
Brazil nonetheless retained control of the match, with the South Africans fighting desperately for an upset victory, and Khune was again forced to react as the last line of defence.
Leandro Domiao hit the side netting before Khune saved two strikes from Neymar, a low shot from the edge of the box and a thunderous effort that the keeper tipped over, stretching full length to get a hand to it.
Brazil eventually made the breakthrough when Givanildo Vieira de Souza, commonly known as Hulk, latched onto a rebound and fired home the only goal of the match with 15 minutes left.
Tshabalala came close to equalising with time running out, but sent his shot wide.-www.iafrica.com