Tshabalala hits opening goal of World Cup
SOUTH AFRICA .................... 1 MEXICO ................................ 1
(Soccer City, Johannesburg) HOST nation South Africa couldn’t follow in the footsteps of Cameroon and Senegal by providing an opening-match shock.
Cameroon famously upset holders Argentina in the 1990 curtain-raiser and Senegal burst the bubble of reigning champions France in the Far East eight years ago.
The Bafana Bafana were second-best throughout against the Mexicans, but still found themselves closing in on a fairytale victory.
Siphiwe Tshabalala broke the deadlock with a stunning 55th minute finish and they looked on course to triumph until Barcelona man Rafael Marquez levelled 12 minutes from time.
He controlled Andres Guardado’s cross at the back post and rifled past keeper Itumeleng Khune to ensure the spoils were shared.
Mexico breathed a late sigh of relief when South African frontman Katlego Mphela fired against a post, but they should have claimed maximum points.
Former West Ham striker Guillermo Franco planted a free header wide and then had another excellent chance saved by Khune during the first period before Arsenal’s Carlos Vela saw a 37th minute ‘goal’ correctly ruled out for offside.