Pitso Mosimane got his reign as Bafana Bafana coach off to a winning start with a 1-0 friendly victory against Ghana at Soccer City on Wednesday night.
Katlego Mphela scored the only goal of the game just before the break, but in fairness the hosts should have won by a much bigger margin as they dominated for most of the match.
The South Africans were definitely the better side for most of the first half, dominating possession, showing some slick passing and creating some great chances.
One such opportunity came as early as the fourth minute when Mphela found himself one-on-one with Richard Kingson, but the Black Stars goalie was quick off his line to deny the Mamelodi Sundowns striker.
Bafana were looking strong down the flanks through Tsepo Masilela and Anele Ngcongca, and it was the latter who put in a teasing cross on 14 minutes which Jonathan Mensah scrambled clear.
A minute later and the hosts should have opened the scoring – Siphiwe Tshabalala’s clever lob playing Mphela in, but again Kingson was on hand to save his team, deflecting the ball clear with his face.
Midway through the half Masilela tested Ghana down the left, but his cross just eluded Bernard Parker’s diving header.
The goal did eventually come though. On 42 minutes, Steven Pienaar, who had been pulling the strings in midfield throughout the half, played an excellent pass for Mphela, who slotted low past the diving Kingson.
Bafana continued their dominance after the break, and could have netted twice inside two minutes.
First Parker collected the ball in the six-yard area, but his turn and shot was blocked well by Lee Addy. Then Mphela was played in by Parker, but the Sundowns man’s touch was a poor one and Mensah cleared the danger.
Before that, Ghana had their first meaningful effort on goal – Emmanuel Agyemang Badu hitting a free-kick over the bar. It had taken 53 minutes.
Eleven minutes later, however, and Itumeleng Khune was called into action properly, but he was up to the task to hang onto Asamoah Gyan’s powerful drive from the edge of the area.
Bafana were looking increasingly edgy at the back as substitutions disrupted their rhythm, but other than a late tip around the post by Khune and another wayward Badu free-kick, there weren’t too many scares as the home side hung on for a well-deserved victory – their fifth in nine matches against the Black Stars.
South Africa starting XI: Itumeleng Khune – Anele Ngcongca (Siboniso Gaxa 64th), Morgan Gould, Aaron Mokoena (Siyabonga Sangweni 46th), Tsepo Masilela – Macbeth Sibaya, Thanduyise Khuboni (Andile Jali 87th), Steven Pienaar (Reneilwe Letsholonyane 73rd), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Daine Klate 68th) – Bernard Parker – Katlego Mphela (Sthembiso Ngcobo 79th)
Ghana starting XI: Richard Kingson (Daniel Agyei 46th) – Samuel Inkoom, Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Lee Addy (Bright Addae 83rd) – Anthony Annan (Bernard Kumordzie 60th), Haminu Dramani (Yaw Antwi 60th), Dede Ayew (Coffie Bekoe 60th), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu – Kwadwo Asamoah, Asamoah Gyan (Ransford Osei 71st)