Two second-half goals from Uche Nwofor gave Nigeria a 2-0 victory over South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
South Africa took time to settle and struggled with possession early in the game. However, Nigeria failed to take advantage of that, because they kept possession in their own half and were often given no space in front of the Bafana goal.
Nnamdi Oduamadi came close and nearly gave Nigeria the opener in the 11th minute after the Bafana defence allowed the Super Eagles to play the ball behind them, but Itumeleng Khune was quick to react.
Tokelo Rantie and Bernard Parker combined well in the 16th minute, but Rantie was tightly marked as Bafana could only settle for a corner.
Bafana launched another attack a few minutes later, but Thuso Phala’s cross could not find Reneilwe Letsholonyane as Nigeria recovered in time to clear their lines.
The home side came close in the 24th minute, but Parker’s low from inside the Nigeria box was too strong for Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Sunday Mba should have done better in the 25th minute after some exciting combination with Ogenyi Onazi only for Khune to save his weak effort.
John Ogu nearly put Nigeria in front with a cheeky chip a minute later, but hit the cross bar and went over with Khune well beaten.
Super Eagles keeper Austine Ejide made a comfortable save from Rantie shortly afterwards.
Khune had to make a difficult save to deny Victor Obinna in the 33rd minute, as Nigeria looked to break the deadlock before half time.
Khune again denied the Super Eagles the opening goal with a fine save in the 42nd minute, after well taken shot by Ogu from outside the Bafana penalty area.
Rantie had a chance to put Bafana in the lead a few seconds later, but his shot hit the wrong side of the net.
Letsholonyane was then wasteful from Parker’s low cross with the dreadlocked midfielder taking too many touches inside the Nigeria box.
Bafana had a brighter second half start and won a free-kick on the left hand side of the Nigerian box in the 46th minute after a foul on Parker, and the Chiefs hitman dusted himself up to whip in a beautiful cross that was punched away by Ejide.
Nigeria then took the lead through substitute Nwofor with a cheeky finish in the 48th minute after the Bafana defence was caught napping.
South Africa tried hard to get the equalizer, but they often lacked composure as they blasted most of their chances over the bar.
Nwofor broke South Africa’s hearts with an easy tap-in in the 67th minute after a skilful display from the Nigerians split the Bafana defence to eventually beat the helpless Khune.
Substitute Lerato Chabangu saw his long-range shot sail over the bar as he looked to catch Ejide off-guard for Bafana’s first goal against Nigeria in nine years.
The home side won a free-kick outside the Nigeria box in the 77th minute, but Parker’s effort was too strong as it sailed over the bar.
Bafana pressed forward in the dying minutes of the game and won a free-kick on the edge of the Nigerian box, but Tshabalala’s attempt was deflected for a corner.
Ahmed Musa came close in the 90th minute with a brilliantly played cross which nearly beat Khune, but it flashed across the face of goal.
|Coach: G. Igesund|
for T. Phala 60'
for R. Letsholonyane 72'
for B. Parker 80'
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