19 January 2014

South Africa/Nigeria: Bafana Bafana Walloped By High Flying Super Eagles

Photo: 2010 FIFA OC
Bafana fans

Bafana Bafana were eliminated from the 2014 CHAN tournament when they were convincingly beaten 3-1 by a well-oiled Super Eagles side missing most of its superstars that won the Africa Cup of Nations last year.

In a match in which Bafana needed only a draw at Cape Town Stadium to progress to the quarter-finals, the home side again contrived to disappoint its myriad of supporters with a below par performance.

By the end of 90 minutes, Gordon Igesund's charges were thoroughly outplayed and relieved to hear the referee's final whistle which saved them from more agony.

The match started at an electrifying pace with both sides having no time to size each other.

The Super Eagles, looking for a result to remain in the competition pushed forward in the opening minutes forcing a number of corner kicks which seemed to trouble the Bafana Bafana backline.

Twice, the Nigerian strikers won high tussles inside the box, again exposing Bafana's aerial weaknesses.

Tefu Mashamaite then had a snap header well-saved by Chigozie Agbim .

Moments later, Christantus Ejike (21st minute) slammed home the first goal of the match after a cross from the left flank, giving Moeneeb Josephs no chance with a sweet strike inside the box.

The goal again exposed Bafana's perennial problems at the back as they failed to close down the Nigerian strikers.

Bafana Bafana hardly fashioned a single chance at goal and things got from bad to worse when Josephs spilled an easy attempt at goal and then fouled Ifeanyi Ede as he tried to collect the rebound.

The hard-working Ede rose to score from the spot to make it 2-0 in the 31st minute.

Bernard Parker created Bafana's first chance in the 33rd minute but his flashing header went agonisingly wide.

Katlego Mashego could have pulled one back for Bafana at the stroke of half-time but his shot from the edge of the box went wide.

Bafana applied intense pressure at the beginning of the second half as they desperately fought hard to reduce the deficit. But there was always the risk of being caught on counter attack, which almost happened in the 49th minute but Ede's shot was saved by a suspect looking Josephs. A back pass by Vuyo Mere was intercepted by the hard-running Ede but his effort could not beat Josephs.

Much as they tried, Bafana looked to lack ideas upfront as most of their final passes went either astray or were intercepted by the Super Eagles defence.

In the 59th minute, Parker missed a seater when he beat the offside trap by his weak bicycle kick went straight into the palms of Agbim.

Mashego then saw his well taken effort tipped over the bar by Agbim as Bafana turned on the heat.

Soon after, Nigeria put the issue beyond doubt when Ejike finished off a well constructed goal, his finishing touch proving too good for Josephs.

In the 70th minute, Ejike could have completed his hat-trick but his half volley cannoned off the cross bar as Nigeria threatened to run riot.

The Super Eagles were reduced to 10 men after Kwambe Solomon was sent off three minutes later.

Seconds later, an out of sorts Mere who had a disappointing game, was also shown the red card for a crude tackle, summing up the day for Bafana.

In the 80th minute Bafana earned a penalty which was converted by Parker to bring some respectability to the scoreline.

Mashego forced a terrific save from Agbim in the 88th minute but that incessant pressure proved too little too late.

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