Friday, 11th June 2010
We Are All Africans
South Africa vs Mexico
Jo'burg Soccer City
It's been a long time coming but it's finally here; a World Cup
Finals match on African soil.
The hosts, South Africa, opened up the tournament against Mexico; to a
bee-buzzing hum of 85,000 vuvuzelas.
Mexico started the game brightly, putting the home side under early
pressure; the first corner conceded within two minutes.
It took fifteen minutes for South Africa to put an effective move
together; resulting in a free-kick, that Steven Pienaar duly wasted.
Mexico came very close to scoring just after the half-hour mark; as
Guillermo Franco chested Carlos Vela's beautifully weighted pass and tried to hook the
ball into the South African net. Itumeleng Khune stretched out both arms and effectively
slapped the ball away from danger with his right hand.
The ball was in the back of the South African net in the 38th minute,
as Carlos Vela finished off a flick-on from a corner.
Even though Steven Pienaar was standing on the line, Itumeleng Khune's
rush forward effectively left Vela in an offside position. Great call from the linesman.
Inspired by their close escape, Bafana Bafana took the game to Mexico
in the final minutes of the first-half; forcing a succession of corners before the
half-time team talk with Carlos Alberto Parreira.
The arrival of Maccabi Haifa's Tsepo Masilela, at the start of the
second-half, seemed to help Siphiwe Tshabalala and the attacking left side in general.
All of Africa erupted in the 54th minutes as Siphiwe Tshabalala
sprinted down the left and struck the ball cleanly past a stranded Óscar Pérez.
On the hour, Itumeleng Khune flew high to his left to keep out a
fierce shot from Giovani Dos Santos.
Needing to change the balance of play, Javier Aguirre used all his
three substitutes within twenty minutes of South Africa taking the lead.
The vuvuzelas were briefly silenced in the 79th minute as, out of
three unmarked Mexicans at the far post, Barcelona's Rafael Marquez was the one to break
towards Itumeleng Khune.
With a sleight feignting move (FIFA only disallow feinting at penalty
kicks) from Marquez, Khune fell onto his rear and the Mexican was able to cooly pick his
spot between the South African goalkeeper and the near post.
Then the vuvuzela humming sound picked up again.
In the 90th minute, Katlego Mphela was released and outpaced the
retreating Mexican defence. As the angle became ever tighter, Mphela couldn't believe that
his shot hit the post.
What a finish that would have been to the first World Cup Finals match
South Africa 1 Mexico 1
1:0 Siphiwe Tshabalala (54)
1:1 Rafael Márquez (79)
Man of The Match:
Siphiwe Tshabalala - for giving all of Africa something to cheer about.
16 Itumeleng Khune; 15 Lucas Thwala, 20 Bongani Khumalo, 4 Aaron Mokoena, 2 Siboniso Gaxa;
13 Kagisho Dikgacoi, 10 Steven Pienaar, 12 Reneilwe Letsholonyane; 8 Siphiwe Tshabalala, 9
Katlego Mphela, 11 Teko Modise.
1 Óscar Pérez; 3 Carlos Salcido, 2 Francisco Rodríguez, 5 Ricardo Osorio, 12 Paul
Aguilar; 6 Gerardo Torrado, 4 Rafael Márquez, 16 Efraín Juárez; 9 Guillermo Franco, 11
Carlos Vela, 17 Giovani Dos Santos.
Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan)
46 Mins (South Africa) - 3 Tsepo Masilela on for 15 Lucas Thwala (LB)
55 Mins (Mexico) - 18 Andres Guardado on for 12 Paul Aguilar
69 Mins (Mexico) - 10 Cuauhtémoc Blanco on for 11 Carlos Vela
73 Mins (Mexico) - 14 Javier Hernández on for 9 Guillermo Franco
83 Mins (South Africa) - 17 Bernard Parker on for 10 Steven Pienaar
18 Mins - Efraín Juárez (Mexico)
27 Mins - Kagisho Dikgacoi (South Africa)
56 Mins - Gerardo Torrado (Mexico)
70 Mins - Tsepo Masilela (South Africa)
0 Red Cards.
2010 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.
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