Red-hot hosts sink Danes
World Cup hosts South Africa maintained their fine form heading into the finals with a 1-0 win over Denmark.
Last Updated: 05/06/10 4:21pm
World Cup hosts South Africa maintained their fine form heading into the finals with a 1-0 win over Denmark in Atteridgeville.
Carlos Alberto Parreira's team made it 12 games unbeaten as Katlego Mphela scored the only goal - his fourth in three matches - 14 minutes from time.
Bafana Bafana will head into their opening Group A match against Mexico on 11th June full of confidence after this victory over their fellow finalists, who will be contesting Group E.
Parreira named a strong starting XI, playing at least eight certainties to start next Friday's opener at Soccer City, with Itumeleng Khune, Bongani Khumalo, Aaron Mokoena, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Teko Modise, Steven Pienaar, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Mphela all in.
The Danes also played several of their big guns, including Liverpool defender Daniel Agger, midfielder Christian Poulsen of Juventus and veteran Feyenoord front-man Jon Dahl Tomasson, who had been a doubt for the match after missing Thursday's training session
Despite the quality on show, almost half an hour passed before the first opening, which fell to the visitors against the run of play.
The chance came in the form of Jesper Gronkjaer's cross-shot from 10 yards out on the right which needed to be punched away by Khune.
From the ensuing counter-attack the lively Tshabalala floated in a perfect cross from the left on to the head of Modise, who wastefully nodded wide from close range.
Morten Olsen's men had another chance shortly after when Agger's looping header from a free-kick hit the upright and sailed wide.
It was goalless at the break and after the restart Reneilwe Letsholonyane tested Stephan Andersen with a powerful 25-yard strike which forced the Brondby goalkeeper to punch away.
At the other end, Mikkel Beckmann's deflected shot from inside the box almost caught out Khune after a good run and cross by Lars Jacobsen down the right.
The deadlock was eventually broken in the 76th minute when Mphela got onto the end of a defence-splitting pass from Letsholonyane and slid a low finish beyond Andersen.
Denmark tried to get back into the game, but the closest they came was when Beckmann fired straight at Khune in the final minute as the hosts earned another confidence boosting win heading into the finals.