Amajita fall to Italy
Posted: 23 May 2017 Time: 22:15
South Africa find themselves on the brink of exiting the FIFA Under-20 World Cup after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Italy at the Suwon World Cup Stadium.
Riccardo Orsolini opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the first-half and Andrea Favelli doubled the advantage after the break.
All the early pressure was exerted by the Italians and South Africa had Mondli Mpoto to thank for keeping the scores level as he got down well to deny Paolo Ghiglione.
As the game went past 10 minutes Amajita began to settle and Luther Singh sold a dummy to a defender before screwing his shot wide.
In the 17th minute Mpoto was forced to make another save as he kept out Favelli's fierce strike with the big striker afforded space to shoot.
There were worrying moments for Amajita minutes later as Giuseppe Pezzella's cross deflected off Reeve Frosler and onto the top of the crossbar.
From the resultant corner Giuseppe Panico had his header cleared off the line by Grant Margeman but seconds later Wiseman Meyiwa was adjudged to have fouled Riccardo Orsolini just inside the area and a penalty was awarded.
The referee opted against consulting with the Video Assistant Referee despite the contentious nature of his decision and Orsolini stepped up to stroke home from the spot.
Favelli almost extended Italy's lead with a lovely effort on the volley but the ball sailed just over the crossbar.
With time running out in the first stanza the trailing team upped the tempo but almost found themselves caught on the counter as goalscorer Orsolini cut inside and saw his shot deflected off Meyiwa and behind.
Late in the half Sibongakonke Mbatha found himself in the box but couldn't shake the attentions of the defender before the ball made its way to Liam Jordan who was not strong enough to create space for himself to shoot.
Sustained pressure from Italy in the opening 10 minutes of the second period, including four consecutive corners, amounted to nothing although they went close on a couple of occasions through Rolando Mandragora and Orsalini.
In the 57th minute Italy had their two-goal cushion as Giuseppe Scalera launched a long throw into the area and Favelli headed in via the upright.
On the hour mark Teboho Mokoena took to the park to replace Meyiwa and his first involvement was to direct a tame effort from a fair distance out towards the goal of Andrea Zaccagno.
Moments later the industrious Malebogo Modise darted past his marker and drilled a low cross into the box but Jordan couldn't get his feet sorted in time to direct his effort on target.
Amajita continued to get closer to finding the back of the net as Singh delivered in a wicked free-kick that just evaded the stretching Tercious Malepe and almost caught out Zaccagno in goal.
Inside the final 10 minutes South Africa had a golden opportunity to pull a goal back as the ball fell to Frosler following a corner but the fullback steered his shot wide.
Singh conjured up some magic on the flank during stoppage time but could not beat the goalkeeper at his near post as Thabo Senong's men suffered a second defeat following the loss to Japan.
South Africa U-20: Mpoto, Frosler, Modise, Malepe, Mthethwa, Meyiwa (Mokoena 60'), Cele (Makgalwa 46'), Mbatha, Margeman, Singh, Jordan (Kodisang 73').
Italy U-20: Zaccagno, Scalera, Barella (Pessina 33'), Romagna, Coppolaro, Orsolini, Mandragora, Favelli, Pezzella, Panico (Cassata 69'), Ghiglione (Vitale 85').