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Bafana Suffer Damaging Defeat To Ethiopia

Bafana Bafana's hopes of participating at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil are over as South Africa crashed to a 2-1 defeat away to Ethiopia at the National Stadium in Addis Ababa on Sunday.
Ethiopia's 2-1 victory ensured they opened up an unassailable five point lead over South Africa with one qualifying match remaining meaning they automatically head Group A and will proudly take their place in the final round of African qualifying for the World Cup.

Despite South Africa looking the more dominant side, the score was locked at 1-1 with twenty minutes left on the clock before disaster struck. A free kick was swung into the box and striker Bernard Parker fired an unstoppable header into his own goal leaving Itumeleng Khune stranded and handed the Ethiopians the impetus required to see off the rest of the game.

It had all started so well for the visitors, Bafana Bafana had calmed down a robust and vociferous home crowd and created a few good chances to score with Thuso Phala testing Jemal Tassew with a long-range strike.  

It wasn't all one-way traffic as Ethiopia created chances of their own but found goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune in an uncompromising mood.

The visitors asked questions of the Ethiopia backline after 30 minutes, Parker rising to meet the ball with a headed effort was that cleared off the line from a corner.

Parker opened the scoring for South Africa in the 32nd minute latching onto a wonderful ball from Khune and striking the ball on the volley leaving Tassew with little chance to react giving South Africa a priceless lead and silencing the home crowd.

Bafana Bafana looked like they would head into the break with a slender lead but Ethiopia equalized after some hesitant defending in the Bafana box allowed Getaneh Kebede to slot the ball past Khune and drawing his country level.

The second half saw Bafana try and gain the lead once again with substitute Tokelo Rantie proving a handful for the Ethiopian defence but Bafana couldn't find the breakthrough that they desperately needed.

In the end, the unfortunate Bernard Parker own goal condemned South Africa to a defeat and the harsh realization that the World Cup dream is over.  

Bafana's final qualifying match will be at home against Botswana on September 6.

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