Bernard Parker’s two goals will go down in the record books as the difference between South Africa and New Zealand in a noisy Royal Bafokeng stadium, but Pienaar’s hard work in the midfield allowed Bafana Bafana to dominate the All Whites from start to finish in the 2-0 win.
The dominance was to such a great degree that Bafana could
easily have won the encounter by four or five goals, with so many chances
falling to the men up front and two goals being ruled out for offside. Katlego
Mashego in particular was a culprit in this regard, missing many chances and
being unfortunate enough to score when in an offside position.
The result allows Bafana to move up to second spot in the
group with four points, two behind leaders Spain and three in front of Iraq.
The final group matches pit Iraq against New Zealand, while South Africa take
on Spain. Both matches will be played simultaneously, and this is where an
interesting scenario presents itself.
South Africa’s numerous missed opportunities might prove
gravely crucial following their last match against Spain when (should Iraq beat
New Zealand and Bafana succumb to Spain) goal difference could come into play.
Second half substitute Mashego, on for the permanently offside Thembinkosi
Fanteni, could take the blame having been put through on goal three times against
All Whites keeper Glenn Moss, and being caught offside on five other occasions.
South Africa coach Joel Santana is only too aware that his
men let slip the opportunity to seal automatic qualification by not killing off
the Kiwis despite over 20 shots on goal. The coach said, "We played very
well but we could have scored more goals. It was a clear-cut victory
considering the amount of ball possession and number of chances created; we
could have had two or three more goals which would have qualified us. We are in
a good position now, but from a mathematical point of view we don't have a
place in the semi-finals yet.”
That match is in the past now, but the fact remains that if
South Africa lose to Spain and Iraq manage to beat New Zealand, it will come down
to a matter of goal difference to decide the team that will move on to the
The Asian representatives are tough and physical, but whether or
not they have the firepower to put a few goals in the back of the net remains
to be seen, with the side yet to score in the competition.
South Africa did well yesterday, and they can be proud of a
one-sided performance in which they played with flair and confidence; but how
will they fare against Spain? At the end of the ninety minutes in Bloemfontein
against the Furia Roja, they may be regretting not putting a few more names on
the scoresheet against the All Whites.
Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com