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Page last updated at 22:57 GMT, Monday, 31 May 2010 23:57 UK

World Cup 2010: Aaron Mokoena marks landmark in SA win

Aaron Mokoena (left) celebrates with Moeneeb Josephs
Aaron Mokoena (left) was able to enjoy his 100th international cap in style

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport, Johannesburg

South Africa's penultimate World Cup warm-up unfolded in perfect fashion for Bafana Bafana as they beat Guatemala 5-0 in Polokwane.

The 2010 hosts' best result since their international return in 1992 came on a night of records as captain Aaron Mokoena became the first South African to reach 100 caps.

Two penalties from Katlego Mphela were capped by Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Surprise Moriri and a wonder strike from Bernard Parker.

However, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira urged caution given their opponents' world ranking of 114th while Group A rivals Mexico, Uruguay and France all lie in Fifa's top 20.

"The other team is not one of the best but we made opportunities, scored five and this is good," said a man who will name his World Cup squad on Tuesday morning.

"This was a preparation game and now we are ready for the biggest game against Denmark on Saturday."

As the new Peter Mokaba Stadium staged its first international before the World Cup and Mokoena took to the field wearing the number '100', South Africa played with considerable fluency at times.

But for the second time in five days, they benefited from some fortunate refereeing decisions - as they did when beating Colombia 2-1 on Thursday.

Ten minutes in, referee Chaibou Ibrahim pointed to the spot even though Gustavo Cabrera's questionable handball from Siphiwe Tshabalala's long-range drive came outside the area.

After Mphela converted, the hosts scored a better second as a fine move involving Pienaar and Tshabalala ended with Reneilwe Letsholonyane bursting forward to finish Lucas Thwala's pullback.

Tshabalala could have added a third before the break, but instead substitute Surprise Moriri slotted home Mphela's cross all too easily after 48 minutes.

Moments later, Guatemala received a dubious penalty themselves as TV replays clearly showed Lucas Thwala to have blocked a shot with his chest not arm - but Guillermo Ramirez's effort was easily saved.

Before the hour, the Nigerien referee awarded another debatable penalty after Cabrera was ruled to have handled again, this time from Kagiso Dikgacoi, so allowing Mphela to slot his fifth goal in four games.

Then Pienaar, whose free role behind Mphela worked far better than last Thursday's central midfield experiment, rattled the corner of the woodwork with a curling 25-yard free-kick.

The goal that crowned South Africa's record victory came in perfect fashion as late sub Parker drilled a rising drive into the top corner from the opposite side of the box.

"The way the team is playing, having worked so hard on getting our shape, shows that the coach is doing a great job," said Pienaar, who played all 90 minutes.

The Brazilian coach is unbeaten in 11 matches since taking charge and oversaw Bafana Bafana scoring five goals for the first time in more than 250 internationals since their 1992 return.

Despite a flurry of substitutions, Benni McCarthy never came off the bench on a night that belonged to Mokoena.

"I've played so many games and I've enjoyed every minute," said the Portsmouth man.

South Africa's last friendly before opening the World Cup against Mexico on 11 June comes on Saturday against fellow finalists Denmark in Atteridgeville.



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see also
Mokoena poised to win 100th cap
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
South Africa extend unbeaten run
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
South Africa draw with Bulgaria
24 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
McCarthy dropped by South Africa
01 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
South Africa climb seven places
26 May 10 |  African
Mokoena says SA can win World Cup
09 May 10 |  African


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