Saturday, June 12, 2010
**Mexico appeared to take a 1-0 lead inside of half an hour, but it was ruled offside and it seemed to take the steam out of El Tri. By the end of a 0-0 first half, they were hanging on for dear life as South Africa won four corners in the final five minutes — despite the best efforts of a floundering Perez to help them, they failed to cash in.
The Mexicans were the better team throughout, but they fell behind when Siphiwe Tshabalala fired in a left-foot thunderbolt from an angle on the left to give the hosts a lead in which their supporters revelled.
Even then, South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira saw his team almost snatch it in the dying moments, only for striker Katlego Mphela to agonisingly roll a shot against the post with keeper Oscar Perez beaten.
Yet over the 90 minutes, Parreira and his side were perhaps lucky to get away with a draw themselves in front of a partisan 84,490 crowd as Mexico failed to turn their startling superiority into victory.
It is unlikely many of the South African fans enjoyed the first 54 minutes of their moment in the global footballing spotlight as their team were comprehensively outplayed by a Mexico side that knocked the ball around the gorgeous surface with consummate skill and ease.
South Africa were struggling to get out of their own half with any real consistency and former West Ham striker Franco was inadvertently keeping them in the contest, again heading off target when he should have done better and seeing another shot expertly saved by Khune.
Mexico were shell-shocked, but after Giovani's left-foot rocket was tipped away by Khune, up popped Marquez to slot in and quieten some of the vuvuzelas in the crowd.
Team Line-Ups :
South Africa : Khune, Gaxa, Mokoena (C), Thwala (Masilela, 44), Khumalo, Tshabalala, Pienaar (Parker, 83), Modise, Letsholonyane, Dikgacoi, Katlego Mphela
Mexico : Perez, Rodriguez, Salcido, Marquez, Osorio, Aguilar (Guardado, 56), Juarez, Torrado (C), Franco (Hernandez, 73), Vela (Blanco, 69), Giovani
Labels: World Cup 2010