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South Africa draw with Mexico, but both still plan to survive Group A

| 11.06.2010

South Africa produced a rousing display on home soil to draw 1-1 with Mexico in the first game of the World Cup.

But the hosts will be ruing a 90th-minute missed chance by star striker Katlego Mphela, who hit the post when clean through.

Spurred on by the unrelenting sound of thousands of vuvuzelas, Bafana Bafana had taken the lead early in the second half through an unstoppable Siphiwe Tshabalala shot, which ended a superb counter-attacking move.

Mexico equalised with a little over 10 minutes to go after poor defending from a short corner left Rafael Marquez free at the far post. He controlled Andres Guardado’s cross with one touch and shot past Itumeleng Khune with another.

The draw is a great result for South Africa but having held the lead for a decent length of time and gone so close to winning it late on, the 1-1 may feel a little frustrating.

Mexico bossed the first half though, retaining possession as well as they have done in the warm-up games, and should have scored at least once through Guillermo Franco.

The ex-West Ham striker headed two set-piece balls over and had a good effort saved by Khune. His failure to capitalise on scorable chances against the group’s weakest team suggest it might be a good idea to look elsewhere for Mexico’s top scorer.

The draw will leave qualification in the balance for both sides with two tough matches to come, but both will feel optimistic as both France and Uruguay have notable weaknesses.

The match was a fairly well-tempered affair with only three bookings, suggesting neither team will be excessively troubling the red and yellow cards markets.

The positive result for South Africa showed that they will be no pushovers on their own turf.



John Klee