Bafana Bafana come on strong

[SOUTH AFRICA-MEXICO REPORT CARD] South Africa held Mexico to a 1-1 tie in a thrilling World Cup opener, but Bafana Bafana will rue its failure to pull off the upset.

After a shaky first half, South Africa came on strong after the break and had the Tri on the ropes after Siphiwe Tshabalala scored in the 55th minute, but a blunder by captain Aaron Mokoena played Rafael Marquez onside, allowing the Mexico star to equalize in the 79th minute.

Katlego Mphela could have won the game for South Africa but hit the post in the dying minutes.

Soccer America's Paul Kennedy grades the players ...

GROUP A
June 11 in Johannesburg
South Africa
STARTERS:
RATING PLAYER (CLUB)
7 Itumeleng Khune
(Kaizer Chiefs)
6 Siboniso Gaxa (Mamelodi Sundowns)
6 Bongani Khumalo (SuperSport United)
4 Aaron Mokoena (Portsmouth)
4 Lucas Thwala (Orlando Pirates)
7 Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham)
5 Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs)
6 Teko Modise (Orlando Pirates)
5 Steven Pienaar (Everton)
7 Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs)
7 Katlego Mphela (Mamelodi Sundowns)
SUBS:
6 Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa)
5 Bernard Parker (FC Twente)

Mexico
STARTERS:
RATING PLAYER (CLUB)
5 Oscar Perez (Chiapas)
5 Paul Aguilar (Pachuca)
5 Ricardo Osorio (VfB Stuttgart)
5 Francisco Rodriguez (PSV)
4 Carlos Salcido (PSV)
6 Rafael Marquez (Barcelona)
5 Efrain Juarez (UNAM)
5 Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul)
7 Giovani dos Santos (Galatasaray)
4 Carlos Vela (Arsenal)
4 Guillermo Franco (West Ham)
SUBS:
6 Andres Guardado
(Dep. Coruna)
5 Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Veracruz)
5 Javier Hernandez (Guadalajara)

(Ratings: 1=terrible; 5=average; 10=brilliant.)
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(Soccer America Readers: What did you think of the game? Agree with the player ratings? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.)

2 comments about "Bafana Bafana come on strong".
  1. Charles Stamos, June 11, 2010 at 3:03 p.m.

    Nice and fitting first game result. Excellent TV video coverage with the appropriate player shots and not missing any of the action. The disallowed goal was called correctly. You need 2 players between you and the goal to be onside, not just one! Tyler and the color man Ekoku totally blew that one. Still, a good start to what promises to be a memorable tourney.
    On the Mexico goal, as I said before, there will be a lot of goals from crosses to the far post, as the ball sails and the defenders and keepers will be misjudging its flight. Nice runs and counters from the RSA team. Kunte was great in goal and started several dangerous attacks. RSA will get to the knock out round, but not much further. Mexico can go to the semis if they don't self destruct. Looking forward to the Uruguay/ France match.

  2. David Huff, June 12, 2010 at 9:38 p.m.

    The bizarre thing to me is why Aguirre has decided to start the 3rd string GK Perez rather than Ochoa who took them through qualification or the competent Michel from Chivas Guadalajara. Perez simply put, cannot move and has poor reflexes/reaction time and does not have the familiarity with the defense players much less their trust/confidence to build good chemistry for the defensive unit. His only qualification appears to be that he was Aguirre's boy from WC 2002 Japan/Korea. Mark my words, Mexico will go down if Perez is allowed to remain as the starting portero. It would be a shame given that this may be Mexico's most talent-laden squad yet, they deserve the chance to go deeply into this tourament.

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