Reuters - Striker Bernard Parker made amends for the blunder which cost South Africa victory in the opening match of the Confederations Cup by scoring twice on Wednesday in a 2-0 win over New Zealand.
Parker struck in the 21st and 52nd minutes, both after crosses from left back Tsepo Masilela, to leave the hosts with a sporting chance of reaching the semi-finals and condemning the visitors to elimination before their final game.
There can have been no more relieved man in the Royal
Bafokeng Stadium than Parker when he scored South Africa's first
goal of the tournament before nearly 37,000 raucous fans.
The striker had unwittingly prevented his team's victory in
the opening match against Iraq on Sunday when a shot from his
own team mate struck him in the back of the legs as it was about
to cross the line for a goal.
Parker showed no sign that the mishap had rocked his
confidence when he took Masilela's cross and swept it past New
Zealand keeper Glen Moss with his left foot.
His second goal early in the second half owed a little to
luck as another Masilela cross struck his left thigh, deflecting
the ball just inside Moss's left-hand post.
Parker could have completed his hat-trick 10 minutes later
with a clever glancing header but Moss saved well.
South Africa dominated the game against a weak New Zealand
side and squandered a host of chances to build on their lead.
They also fell far too readily into the away team's
defensive trap, having a goal in each half disallowed for
Those misses could prove costly to their chances of reaching
the semi-final from Group A. With one match to go Spain have
qualified on six points and the hosts lie second with four. Iraq
have one and New Zealand none.
South Africa need to draw with Spain in Bloemfontein on
Saturday to be sure of going through. But, if they lose, Iraq
could beat them on goal difference with a victory over the
They can take comfort from a much more convincing
performance than they showed in the opening game and can also
reflect that they have yet to concede a goal in the tournament
and have rarely looked like doing so.
Bernard Parker's goals, which kept alive his team's chances of reaching the semi-finals, came just three days after he cost his team victory against Iraq by getting in the way of a team mate's shot.
"My team mates supported me after what happened on Sunday," Parker told a news conference. "After the game they told me to
put it behind me, that it was part of football.
"When the coach announced the starting lineup for the New
Zealand game and I saw that he had put me in, I got my
confidence back. I saw he had confidence in me and I was able to
put it behind me."
Parker's two goals were all South Africa had to show for a
"We could have had two or three more goals," said coach Joel
Santana. "I was satisfied with the victory, the way we moved the
ball around and the number of opportunities created."
South Africa now face European champions Spain in their last
Group A game on Saturday.
"We are going to try and play that game as equals," the