South Africa: Bafana Bafana Hold Mexico to Draw at World Cup Opener

South Africa's Siphiwe Tshabalala scores his side's goal.
11 June 2010

Johannesburg — Amid a cacophony of sound and colour, South Africa and Mexico drew the opening game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup 1-1 at Soccer City, though both coaches might be ruing not picking up all three Group A points.

Mexico had the more clear-cut chances and were the better side for most of the game, but Bafana struck the post late on with the scores tied and Teko Modise had a great chance when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Already, the home side had opened the scoring thanks to a wonderful goal from Man of the Match Siphiwe Tshabalala, before Mexico skipper Rafael Marquez equalised with 11 minutes left.

Mexico were almost gifted the perfect start when Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune spilled a cross from the right, straight into the path of Giovani dos Santos, but Aaron Mokoena was on hand to make a vital block from just six yards out.

Then Guillermo Franco headed over from a corner on 15 minutes, while at the other end Steven Pienaar hit a 30-yard free kick that also sailed over the bar.

A mistake from Modise allowed Dos Santos a run on goal, but he fired wide from just outside the penalty area, while Khune made an excellent point-blank save from Franco from six yards out.

Just a few minutes later, Vela might have done better to slip in to Dos Santos, as he found acres of space on the right, while Bongani Khumalo then deflected a Dos Santos shot just over the bar.

From the ensuing corner, Mexico thought they had scored, but Vela was in an offside position, despite a Bafana defender on the line, as Khune was also ahead of the ball, having failed to collect the delivery.

Franco had another headed chance as the opportunities began to mount for Mexico towards halftime, while Bafana were starved of possession and unable to get their foot on the ball.

But Mphela was within inches of scoring an opener when he just failed to connect with Tshabalala's cross, while Dikgacoi headed wide from a corner delivery to the back post.

Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira made a change at the break, bringing on Tsepo Masilela for Lucas Thwala in the left back position, and South Africa were ahead within 10 minutes of the restart.

Tshabalala was set free down the left-hand side by an inch-perfect ball from Kagisho Dikgacoi and his thunderous left-foot shot gave Oscar Perez in the Mexican goal no chance.

Khune was forced into an excellent near-post save by Dos Santos, while Modise shot wide when he should have found the back of the net, but was in any event flagged for offside.

Modise had another great opportunity to double the score when he was put through by Gaxa, but Perez saved at his feet and was able to clear. Modise appealed for a foul by the defender, but nothing was given.

Mexico were back on level terms on 79 minutes when skipper Marquez beat the offside trap after being given acres of space to pick his spot at the back post.

Javier Hernandez had a late headed chance that he put over, however the best chance fell to Mphela, who raced onto a long through-ball but struck the post with a low shot.

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