Spain's defeat in South Africa may be expunged

Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:23pm EST
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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Spain, back at the scene of their 2010 World Cup title triumph, suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat by South Africa on Tuesday but the result could be expunged by FIFA.

The world and European champions made seven substitutions - one more than is permitted in international friendlies by soccer's ruling body.

Match officials allowed Pepe Reina to come on for injured goalkeeper Victor Valdes after Spain had already made six changes, much to the chagrin of South Africa coach Gordon Igesund whose protests were waved away.

Spain, who used Iker Casillas in goal in the first half, brought Valdes on for the second period but the Barcelona keeper twisted his knee in the 78th minute and had to go off.

Bernard Parker had chipped the ball over Valdes for the only goal after 56 minutes for South Africa who missed out on qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune had to make a flying save in the final minute to deny Raul Albiol an equalizer.

Asked by Spanish television broadcaster Cuatro if it was Spain's worst performance in recent times, coach Vicente Del Bosque replied: "It could be. I think we can even say the defeat was well deserved.

"We started well but little by little they started to open us up and we allowed them time to counter attack.

"We came out with good intentions and fought to the end to find an equalizer so I can't complain about the players' attitude," added Del Bosque.   Continued...

Spain's goalkeeper Victor Valdes (L) arrives at the O. R. Tambo International Airport, ahead of Tuesday's international friendly soccer match against South Africa at Soccer City, in Johannesburg.November 17, 2013. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko