Result: Bafana 0-1 Norway
Date: 8 January 2013
Venue: Cape Town Stadium
Bafana Bafana failed to produce a confident performance with the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations just around the corner as they went down 1-0 to a young Norway side at the Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday night.
South Africa stuttered through large portions of the game as they struggled to break down a plucky Norway, who were quick to close down the ball all over the park.
After failing to hold onto the ball in the opening 10 minutes, Bafana would arguably create their best chance of the half when Reneilwe Letsholonyane slipped the ball to Katlego Mphela who turned brilliantly but saw his low shot kept out by the goalkeeper.
Bjorn Helge Riise then saw his grass-cutter from outside the area stopped unconvincingly by Itumeleng Khune who gathered the ball on the second attempt.
Bafana coach Gordon Igesund was furious on the sidelines after Siphiwe Tshabalala and Thuso Phala had switched places on the flanks.
After Phala returned back on the right, he fizzed a dangerous low cross into the six yard area which was parried by the goalkeeper. Letsholonyane got the rebound but couldn't scramble it home.
The goalkeeper would turn a strike around the post soon after before Norway grabbed a shock lead. The Bafana defenders watched on as Tarik Elyounoussi danced across the centre-backs before firing past Khune.
Mphela wasted a glorious chance to draw level moments later when Lerato Chabangu curled a perfect pass into the middle and the Mamelodi Sundowns man fluffed his attempted lob as the ball fell into the grateful goalkeeper's arms.
The hosts made a bright start to the second-half with Phala slipping Tokelo Rantie through but the goalkeeper made the save and Phala's scuffed shot on the follow up was cleared by the defenders
Elyounoussi then had a shot blocked before Phala put another dangerous ball in which Thulani Serero poked at goal but the goalkeeper made a brave sliding block.
Siyabonga Sangweni glanced a header just wide from a free-kick with 10 minutes to go as Bafana tried to turn up the pressure.
Phala should have equalised when he latched onto a cutback from Serero but he blazed over when it seemed easier to hit the target.
Bafana were frustrated by the visitors in the final few minutes as Norway ran down the clock and ensured that South Africa started 2013 with a loss.
Bafana: Itumeleng Khune, Tshepo Masilela, Bongani Khumalo, Siyabonga Sangweni, Anele Ngcongca, Lerato Chabangu, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Thuso Phala, Katlego Mphela.
Norway: Rune Almenning Jarstein, Espen Ruud, Kim Andre Madsen, Frederik Semb Berge, Lars Christopher Vilsvik, Ardian Gashi, Tarik Elyounoussi, Bjorn Helge Riise, Erik Huseklepp, Ruben Jenssen, Alexander Soderlund.