South Africa see off Ghana at Soccer City

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa began their post-World Cup era with a 1-0 win over Ghana in a friendly international to secure a winning start for new coach Pitso Mosimane on Wednesday.

Exactly one month after staging the World Cup final, the cavernous Soccer City stadium attracted some 40,000 fans on a cold night to see Katlego Mphela's 42nd minute goal hand the home team a narrow win over the under-strength Ghanaians.

Mphela outpaced the opposing defence to latch onto a short, weighted pass from Steven Pienaar to score from close-range after earlier being denied twice by good saves from Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson while in a similar position.

Pienaar, who had looked tired during the World Cup, put on a masterful midfield show with clever passes, darting runs and ball-winning tackles, a post-tournament holiday having seemingly done him good.

"Let's be honest it was a bit scrappy but both sides didn't have the legs, the players are still working on their fitness before the start of the new season," said Mosimane.

Ghana managed only one shot on target throughout the game, with stand-in captain Asamoah Gyan firing at goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune on the hour mark.

Ghana, who had been controversially knocked out of the World Cup quarter-finals by Uruguay at the same stadium last month, were missing several top players, including Michael Essien, John Mensah and Sulley Muntari, allowed to skip the trip to Johannesburg.

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