Norway dampen Bafana spirits


Tarik Elyounoussi scored the match’s only goal in the first half, but the hosts would be disappointed by the number of chances they missed.

Bafana tested the Norwegian backline for the first time in the 16th minute when Reneilwe Letsholonyane’s visionary pass found Katlego Mphela. The Sundowns striker expertly turned his defender, but his shot was weak and goalkeeper Rune Almenning Jarstein saved with his feet.

Nine minutes later the visitors threatened the hosts’ defence when Bjorn Helge Riise fired a stinging shot from outside of the box which Itumeleng Khune parried.

Mphela was again denied by Jarstein when his header was parried away for a corner in the 36 minute – just a few seconds after Thuso Phala’s mesmerising run almost found the Sundowns man on the goalline.

But the Cape Town Stadium would go into silence when the Norwegians took the lead through some individual skill and an expert finish from Elyounoussi, who beat two defenders before firing an unstoppable shot past Itumeleng Khune.

In the 55th minute the South Africans were denied an equaliser when a counter-attack led by Phala nearly came to fruition. He released Tokelo Rantie, whose shot was saved by the keeper from close range. The rebound fell to Phala, but his effort was cleared off the line.

In the 83rd minute Phala - who had been a menace for the visiting defence in the second half - could only blast his shot over the bar from close range after Rantie’s initial shot was saved by the goalie.

So the 35 000 fans at Cape Town Stadium go home unhappy, but Gordon Igesund will take heart from the chances created – and hope the goals will come in Saturday’s friendly against Algeria at Orlando Stadium.

Bafana line-up against Norway: Itumeleng Khune, Tshepo Masilela, Bongani Khumalo, Siyabonga Sangweni, Anele Ngcongca (Lehlohonolo Majoro 87), Lerato Chabangu (Bernard Parker 53), Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Kagisho Dikgacoi (May Mahlangu 69), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Thulani Serero 56), Thuso Phala, Katlego Mphela (Tokelo Rantie 46)