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Honduras 1 South Africa 1: Khune stars as Bafana hold on

South Africa were fortunate to escape with a 1-1 draw against Honduras on Tuesday after a fine individual performance from goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.

Both managers were eager to experiment with different line-ups in their final friendly before their respective World Cup qualifying campaigns begin.

South Africa opened the scoring after just eight minutes as Eric Mathoho headed at the near post after some poor defending from a corner.

But just five minutes later, Honduras equalised with a header of their own as Erick Andino converted Carlos Discua’s parried shot.

It was a frantic start in San Pedro Sula with a flurry of chances for both sides.

Roman Castillo’s driven effort struck the side netting for Jorge Pinto’s side before Kamohelo Mokotjo forced a save from Noel Valladares from the edge of the area.

But it was the visitors who broke the deadlock when Kaizer Chiefs defender Mathoho scored his first international goal.

The centre-back’s bullet header squeezed under Valladares and into the bottom of the net from Jabulani Shongwe’s in-swinging corner.

Their advantage did not last for long, however, as Andino reacted well inside the area to turn in Discua’s acute-angled shot with Khune only able to deflect the powerful strike.

Pacey winger Discua continued to cause problems down the right wing throughout the first period and forced a good save with a long-range effort.

Pinto, taking charge of his first game after being appointed Honduras manager, watched his side continue to attack their African opponents, with Castillo going close again.

The 23-year-old striker almost had Honduras ahead but his delicate lob over Khuna was hacked off the line by the ever-present Mathoho.

Castillo continued to test the South African back-line after the interval, heading straight at Khune following a smart move down the right involving Wilmer Crisanto.

Andino looked to double his early goal from the lip of the area but Khune, who has 69 caps for his country, was once again able to keep out the Central Americans.

The match became increasingly fragmented following the break, with both managers substituting several players, eager to gain last-minute knowledge ahead of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Bafana head coach Ephraim Mashaba had his keeper to thank again on the hour mark as Castillo one-on-one attempt was kept out after a strong save.

Despite having to withstand heavy pressure for large periods of the match, South Africa almost won the tie with just four minutes to play.

Second-half substitute Sibusiso Vilakazi found space 25-yards out and rifled a shot towards goal which struck the woodwork before rebounding out of play.

With neither side able to create clear openings in the final third, both teams were forced to settle for a draw. 

Wed 14 Oct, 2015
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