Heldon of Cape Verde and Thabo Matlaba of South Africa

The opening match of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations saw South Africa and Cape Verde play to a goalless draw at the National Stadium in Soweto.

Host team Bafana Bafana will be bitterly disappointed at the result, as they were looking for a fast start to the tournament, while the debutants will be pleased at having claimed a point from their first outing in the AFCON.

The first half was a stop-start affair, with neither side really able to settle down and play the kind of football they would have been planning on.

South Africa had an early half-chance when Siphiwe Tshabalala?s free kick found the head of Bernard Parker, but his effort was directed well wide of the target.

Cape Verde created the first clear scoring chance and the best opportunity of the first half. On 15 minutes Babanco played a great ball to pick out Platini, who had only goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune to beat, but he dragged his effort wide of the target.

Platini proved to be a thorn in the side of Bafana Bafana?s defence throughout the first half, with his clever movement providing a real headache for Bongani Khumalo and Siyabonga Sangweni, while winger Ryan Mendes was also allowed freedom to move among the front line.

In contrast, the home side?s strikers Bernard Parker and Lehlohonolo Majoro posed little threat, as they were unable to combine effectively due to a lack of quality service from their midfield, who had a tough time in trying to gain ascendancy over their opponents.

That Bafana needed more creativity in midfield was clear, and coach Gordon Igesund introduced both Lerato Chabangu and Thulani Serero before the hour mark, but neither really provided the cutting edge needed to prise open Cape Verde?s defence.

The islanders spend most of the second half on the back foot, though they almost broke the deadlock against the run of play on 73 minutes when a diving header from Heldon had Itumeleng Khune scrambling across his goal line to tip the ball away.

In the end the home side simply lacked the necessary quality and composure in the final third to break down their opponent?s defence, with their only half-chance arriving in injury time when captain Bongani Khumalo put a header over the top from a corner kick.


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