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South Africa 0-0 Algeria

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Dikgacoi and Guedioura

Dikgacoi and Guedioura

South Africa were held to a 0-0 draw by Algeria at Orlando Stadium in their final Africa Cup of Nations warm-up match ahead of their opener against Cape Verde.

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It was a solid showing from the hosts who played some neat passing football at times, although without creating too many clear-cut chances while Bafana stopper Itumeleng Khune was rarely troubled in the hosts' goal.

With Thulani Serero and Dean Furman playing through the centre of the park, alongside Kagisho Dikgacoi, Gordon Igesund's side looked more composed although the final pass to striker Katlego Mphela was once again lacking with the Mamelodi Sundowns front man starved of opportunities before being withdrawn in the second half.

Sofiane Feghouli was impressive at times for the Fennec Foxes and showed glimpse of his undoubted talent, although he, too, was unable to effect the outcome of this match.

Bernard Parker did well to create some space for himself down the left flank and he found Thuso Phala with a great cross but the winger's first touch was poor allowing Algeria to get back and clear the danger.

Parker then saw a long-range effort fly harmlessly over the crossbar on 19 minutes after some neat interplay with Serero.

The Ajax Amsterdam midfielder picked out Dikgacoi moments later with a pin-point cross into the box, but with time and space to bring the ball down and pick his spot, the midfielder opted for a bicycle-kick and completely missed the ball.

Some incisive play from Algeria saw Essaid Belkalem cut inside Bongani Khumalo on the edge of the box before teeing up Foued Kadir but he was only able to slice his shot wide of the target.

Hameur Bouazza was then fed the ball out wide on the left but he, too, failed to direct his shot on target.

Bafana won a free-kick in a dangerous position to the right of the Algeria goal on the half-hour mark, for a foul on Mphela, but despite a great delivery from the subsequent free-kick, to the back post where Siyabonga Sangweni was waiting, visiting goalkeeper Rias M'Bohli was first to the ball.

Khune then did well to close down the space as Kadir raced though on goal. The stopper made a brave save before conceding a corner that was well hit towards Adlane Guedioura who got a foot to the ball but without being able to direct his effort on target.

And with the half winding down, Islam Slimani skied his shot well over the bar after a breakaway by Algeria following a poor free-kick by Phala that was easily picked out of the air by the visiting goalkeeper.

South Africa, though, should have gone into the half-time break at least a goal up as first Mphela shot straight at the keeper with time and space to pick a corner before Phala saw his shot from the left fly wide of the goal.

Then a great change of pace from Parker saw him beat Khaled Lemmouchia on the edge of the box before unleashing a curling effort that was well saved.

However, Belkalem came even closer to opening the scoring with a close-range header from a Bouazza free-kick from the right-hand side that flew just over Khune in the Bafana goal.

Bouazza did well to take down Serero on the edge of the box at the start of the second period after the player looked to be through on goal.

Slimani's influence on the match grew the longer the tie wore on and he picked out Carl Medjani in the centre before receiving the ball at the back post where he volleyed into the side netting.

Slimani was then unlucky to shoot straight at Khune after cutting inside Sangweni to make space for a shot.

Substitute Reneilwe Letsholonyane should have done better after turning well on the edge of the box, but his effort flew narrowly wide of goal.

A Parker ball from the left found its way to substitute Siphiwe Tshabalala whose shot on target was deflected out for a corner.

Tshabalala then saw a volley from the left-hand side narrowly miss the Algeria goal before a great run down the left from Bouazza threatened to sneak in at the near post before Gaxa showed his composure to clear the danger.

And with the match winding down, Phala beat two men through the middle before laying the ball off to Parker, but his touch forward was marginally over hit.

Bafana's appeals for a penalty for hand ball in the closing stages were waved away following a well-hit free-kick from the right from Letsholonyane, while Parker did his utmost to get his head on a Tshabalala cross but was unable to direct his effort goalward under pressure from Halliche for the last action of the match.

Posted: 12/01/13 21:00

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