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South Africa 0-0 Cape Verde

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Igesund: Work to be done

Igesund: Work to be done

South Africa opened the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations with a disappointing goalless draw against Cape Verde at the National Stadium on Saturday.

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The hosts were unable to find a way past the continental minnows and would have to settle for a share of the spoils, leaving the whole of Group A on one point after one game following Angola and Morocco's stalemate in the day's later match.

Thuso Phala proved one of Bafana's few stand-out players on the day, with the winger showing plenty of initiative out wide, starting in the third minute as he ghosted past his man to work the chance to get the ball into the area, but his delivery was not very good and the defence easily cleared.

South Africa got in their first shot on target after 13 minutes from a Siphiwe Tshabalala free-kick, but the midfielder's curling effort didn't have enough power in it and Josimar Vozinha made an easy save.

Luis Platini had a golden chance to open the scoring for the Blue Sharks as he got in behind the defence before running clean through on goal, but he was unable to maintain his composure and dragged his shot wide of the mark when he probably should have at least tested Itumeleng Khune.

Poor ball distribution became the name of the game for Bafana for the rest of the half, with neither of the wingers able to get any sort of threatening delivery into the area, and when a ball finally found its way into the 18-yard box a lapse in concentration from Phala saw the midfielder caught unawares when unmarked at the far-post, the ball bouncing out off his shin.

Cape Verde's in-form striker Ryan Mendes almost snuck the lead heading into the break but an awkward touch forced the forward to lean back from a tight angle, inevitably firing over the bar.

Igesund made one change at the break, with Lerato Chabangu coming on for Kagisho Dikgacoi, and the Moroka Swallows forward almost made a stunning impact with an audacious overhead kick from Phala's delivery into the area, but he wasn't able to make the right contact and the ball bounced into the hands of the keeper.

The host nation began building up a head of steam as the second-half progressed, but some poor decision making in the final third resulted in a lack of attacking intent, with numerous deliveries sailing straight behind for a goal-kick.

Cape Verde almost snuck the ball into the back of the net midway through the second period as Mendes got the slightest of touches onto a hopeful cross into the area, and although his header appeared to be going wide, Khune still managed to get fingertips to the ball to ensure it went behind.

Matlaba and Phala were enjoying the run of the left flank in the closing stages of the game, but again it was the final ball that let the side down, with both players guilty of hogging possession when multiple attacking options had opened up ahead of them in respective runs out wide.

South Africa continued to do most of the pressing as the minutes ticked down, but they were unable to find a way through as the referee brought a largely uneventful game to a close before the three minutes of added time had even been up.

Posted: 19/01/13 18:00

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