South Africa 2-0 Niger: Steven Pienaar inspires Bafana to easy win

Man of the match showing from Everton player...
The game took place at Nelspruit's Mbombela Stadium in South Africa, one of the venues that was used at the 2010 World Cup, and the arena brought Bafana luck, as they easily rampaged over minnows Niger.

Bernard Parker’s thunderbolt and Katlego Mphela’s strike was enough to earn Bafana Bafana their first win of the qualifiers and allow them to top the group while still waiting to see what will happen in tomorrow's game between Egypt and Sierra Leone.

With coach Pitso Mosimane having made one change to the starting lineup that played Ghana, bringing in Bongani Khumalo who missed the friendly with an injury, the team came out all guns blazing with Steven Pienaar dictating matters in midfield.

Man-of-the-match Steven Pienaar won the ball just near the centre line and unleashed a defence splitting pass for Katlego Mphela who made no mistake when beating Kassali to give Mosimane’s charges the advantage with just 11 minutes on the board.

It took the visitors 16 minutes to get their first chance, but Khumalo did well to clear the ball for a corner and the resultant set piece found Itumeleng Khune in an uncompromising mood, easily collecting Moussa's header.

Three minutes into the referee's added 6 minutes of stoppage time, Anele Ngcongca did well on the right and brought in a beautiful cross that fell for Parker whose volley gave Kassali no chance, 2-0 the score as both teams went to the change rooms for half time.

In the second half Pienaar, Sibaya and Khuboni were at their best, creating chances which Tshabalala struggled to finish, maybe still thinking about his World Cup opening goal.

Mosimane made a like for like change bringing in Letsholonyane for Khuboni just to close shop and Karim came in for Moussa as coach Frederic Costa hoped to change his team's fortunes. The much awaited Kermit Erasmus debut finally happened in the 77th minute as he came in for Mphela and Pienaar also made away for Teko Modise in the 80th minute.

Whoever said luck does not exist in  football was lying as Bafana bombarded the visitors goalmouth with chance after chance, but still fans watched in agony as either the keeper Kassali came out tops or simple opportunities were pushed wide.

The man in black finally ended the game and it was all celebrations in Mpumalanga and the rest of South Africa, but Mosimane's charges wasted chances enough to win a dozen games.

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