RUSTENBURG, South Africa - World Cup hosts South Africa netted a late winner to beat Norway 2-1 in a friendly on Saturday and record a rare win over European opposition. Siphiwe Tshabalala scored two minutes into second-half stoppage time with a long-range shot to hand a morale-boosting win to the home side. South Africa, seeking to create a credible side for the 2010 World Cup on home soil, had taken an early lead through Bernard Parker who stabbed home from close range in the seventh minute. A free kick from midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen in the 27th minute took a wicked deflection off Steven Pienaar to allow Norway to equalise. Both teams wilted in the heat in the second half before Tshabalala's spectacular effort flew in from outside the penalty area. It was only the sixth win in 27 matches against European opposition for South Africa since their readmission to world football in 1992. "I'm very, very satisfied -- apart from winning, the team played really well against a strong team. It's a game that has given our team a little bit more experience at a high international level," South Africa coach Joel Santana told reporters. Saturday's match marked the re-opening of the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Rustenburg after extensive renovations, one of the 10 venues for the World Cup finals.
28 March 2009
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