Igesund: Mali draw a fair result
Bafana coach Gordon Igesund said the 1-1 draw with Mali was a fair result on the balance of play
CAPE TOWN - Bafana coach Gordon Igesund said his side's draw against Mali was a fair result.
Bernard Parker opened the scoring for Bafana with a penalty after Lindokhule Mbatha was brought down in the area.
Ibrouhima Sidebe equalised for Mali from a counter attack early in the second half.
Bafana had their chances to reclaim the lead, but poor finishes held their chances of securing the victory.
Speaking after the match, Igesund said his side was under pressure from the Malians all afternoon.
"We kept plugging away, they defended well and they caught us on the counter attack. They're a difficult team to play against because they've got some good skill players in their side. At the end of the day the points were shared, and on the balance of play it was probably a fair result."
Igesund added that Mali's aerial threat wasn't easy to combat.
"They caused us a few problems with their height and their aerial strength. They won a lot of balls in the air and caused us a few hassles, but I thought we coped with that. None of our players were as tall as any of their players, but we managed and we matched them physically. Aerially they dominated us, and they are a good team."
The 57-year-old coach said it was difficult to separate the two teams.
"I think it was a very difficult game, and both teams were quite evenly matched up. They had their chances and we had our chances, but I think we shaded them in terms of opportunities, and it would have been nice to have scored the second or the third goal."
Bafana midfielder Matthew Pattison said that although it wasn't an easy outing, his side managed to deal with Mali's physicality.
"We knew it was going to be a battle, but I thought we matched them. We got about them physically and put them under pressure. I think we shaded the first half quality-wise and we got into some very good positions."
Pattison said it's wasn't easy to reclaim the lead once Mali equalised.
"It would have been nice to have created a little bit more in the second half, but when you concede a goal it knocks the stuffing out of you a bit. But I thought we coped pretty well, and it was a fair result all-round."
Pattison praised his teammates for keeping the pace for most of the game.
"The pace of the game was good, especially in the first half. It tapered out a bit in the second half, but I thought we passed it well at times and we could have passed it better at other times. But obviously as the game goes on fatigue sets in, guys get tired legs and changes are made."