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Africa Cup of Nations
19 January 2013
• FNB Stadium (Soccer City), Johannesburg, GA
Referee: D. Haïmoudi
• Attendance: 50000
Cape Verde Islands
The other match in Group A between Angola and Morocco is set to get underway in just under an hour as we wait for the first goal in this year's competition. Thanks for joining me, Max Bentley, on the opening match of the 2013 African Cup of Nations which saw a spirited Cape Verde side hold South Africa to a draw. Until next time, goodbye!
Coach Gordon Igesund is bound to be the subject of media criticism tomorrow after that abject South Africa performance which lacked cohesion and creativity. Credit is due to Cape Verde though who looked dangerous on the attack with Fernando Varela and Fernando Neves rocks in the heart of defence. Can they be the darkhorses of this 2013 African Cup of Nations tournament?
FULL TIME: SOUTH AFRICA 0 - 0 CAPE VERDE. A chorus of boos echoes around the FNB Stadium to silence the vuvuzuelas. Outsiders Cape Verde claim a point in their first ever African Cup of Nations finals match with a 0-0 stalemate against hosts South Africa. In truth, it was hardly a classic with both sides failing to fashion too many clear-cut goalscoring opportunities and you feel that they will need to improve if they are to advance to the group stages.
90' + 2'
WHAT A CHANCE FOR SOUTH AFRICA TO WIN IT! Chabangu delivers the corner into the box and captain Bongani Khumalo rises highest to meet it, but the ball deflects off his shoulder and over the bar. That was the chance for South Africa!
Late chance for South Africa as Chabangu holds the ball up well before laying the ball back for Matlaba but his first-time effort deflects wide for a corner.
Julio Tavares looks to launch a counter-attack for Cape Verde but he is thwarted by a strong challenge from Siyabonga Sangweni. Both sides looking bereft of ideas here in the closing stages.
South Africa win a freekick 30 yards from goal but Katlego Mphela's effort flies over the crossbar. Will we have late drama at Soccer City?
Lucio Antunes is clearly looking to shut up shop here as he throws on midfielder Roni in place of Mendes. Roni plies his trades in Luxembourg for Fola Esch.
Ryan Mendes has produced a tireless display with his running up front today but he cannot break the deadlock as his long-range piledriver blazes over the bar.
Chabangu delivers a freekick into the Cape Verde box and after a bit of hesitancy, Neves manages to get the ball clear. South Africa are pushing for a winner here. Can they find it with seven minutes to go?
Gordon Igesund is urging his side to attack on the touchline and they have a decent opportunity when Chabangu spots the run of Mphela, only to wastefully overhit the through ball.
South Africa's crossing has been woeful today and Thulani Serero is the latest player to overhit the ball as his corner goes wastefully out for a throw. The host nation will need to play better than this if they wish to advance from the group stages.
Katlego Mphela has hardly had a touch of the ball since coming on. South Africa just cannot provide the service to their talisman at the moment.
Heldon, who has been impressive for Cape Verde today, has finished his shift and he is hauled off in place of David Silva. Let's see if he can create similar magic to that of his Spanish namesake.
Bernard Parker nearly forces an opening when he pokes a ball between two Cape Verde defenders, but there is no yellow shirt on the end of it. The home crowd are starting to grow anxious now, fifteen minutes remaining.
CRUCIAL SAVE FROM KHUNE! Cape Verde go so close to taking the lead when Heldon heads Babanco's cross back across goal, forcing the South African goalkeeper to scramble across his goalmouth and make a sprawling save.
Thulani Serero looks to slip in a smart reverse pass for Bernard Parker but the striker is denied by a crucial last-ditch challenge from Nivaldo. Top defending.
Tavares' aerial threat is causing South Africa problems and captain Bongani Khumalo needs to be alert to head clear a dangerous cross from the left.
Final roll of the dice for Gordon Igesund as Katlego Mphela comes on to replace Majoro. Can the Mamelodi Sundowns striker be the hero for the host nation? For those of you who don't remember, Mphela scored the winner in South Africa's 2-1 World Cup victory over France.
South Africa initially clear the corner but only as far as Marco Soares whose strike is once again blocked by the South Africa rearguard. Defences on top at the moment.
Heldon looks to swing a cross into the box for Julio Tavares but Anele Ngcongca rises highest to head the ball clear. Moments later Mendes finds space in the box but Sangweni produces a vital block to turn his goalbound effort behind for a corner.
Lucio Antunes makes a first substitution for Cape Verde, bringing on Julio Tavares for Platini. Tavares plays for French Ligue 2 side Dijon, where he has scored six goals in ten games this season. Can he change this game?
South Africa get into a good position with Phala down the right but the cross is once again overhit, to the frustration of the home crowd.
Lawrence Siphiwe Tshabalala
Coach Gordon Igesund makes a second substitution, throwing on promising Ajax winger Thulani Serero in place of Siphiwe Tshabalala. High hopes for the youngster.
Yellow Card Platini
Platini picks up Cape Verde's first booking of the tournament after a silly push on Khune.
Cape Verde have been under a lot of South African pressure since half-time and Platini looks to snatch a goal on the break but his strike from the edge of the box drags wide of Khune's right post.
GOOD SAVE FROM VOZINHA! Majoro latches onto a ball over the top of the defence, cutting back and feeding the ball into the path of Parker. The striker is muscled to the floor by Varela and the ball rolls free for Tshabalala but his low effort is excellently parried by the goalkeeper.
Reneilwe Letsholonyane looks to slip a ball in behind the Cape Verde defence for Bernard Parker but the striker is dispossessed by a brilliant challenge from Fernando Varela. The Vaslui defender has been a rock at the back so far.
South Africa attack once again down the left, this time with Tshabalala, but his cross into the box is overhit and goes out for a goalkick.
Bernard Parker collects the ball on the left-hand side and looks up to pick out substitute Lerato Chabangu in the middle. The Moroka Swallows attacker attempts an overhead kick but the ball is easily collected by Vozinha.
A bit more urgency in this South African team at the beginning of the second period with Siphiwe Tshabalala seeing plenty of the ball. Which side will find the breakthrough?
This game is back underway. Half-time substitution for South Africa with Lerato Chabangu replacing Kagisho Dikgacoi.
Incidentally, South Africa failed to score in their two build-up matches to this tournament, losing to Norway 1-0 and drawing 0-0 with Algeria. Perhaps Katlego Mphela can bring some goalscoring inspiration from the bench?
What did you make of that first half? Can the Cape Verde Islands pull off an upset and win their debut match in the African Cup of Nations? Let me know your predictions and thoughts via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
HALF TIME: SOUTH AFRICA 0 - 0 CAPE VERDE. Not the most action-packed of opening matches but some promising signs from both sides nonetheless. The Bafana Bafana started well but allowed Cape Verde to settle into the game and the Blue Sharks really should have taken the lead when Platini skewed a good opportunity wide of Khune's goal. South Africa coach Gordon Igesund did not look too impressed at the half-time whistle and I wouldn't be surprised to see him switch things up because it just is not coming off for his side at the moment. All square at the break!
Cape Verde look to cause damage at the end of the half with a freekick in a dangerous position, but Babanco's freekick is comfortably saved by Khune.
Yellow Card A. Ngcongca
Anele Ngcongca picks up the first caution of the tournament for a rash challenge on Platini.
GOOD CHANCE FOR CAPE VERDE! Babanco's corner is flicked towards the back post by Fernando Neves to Ryan Mendes but the striker cannot keep his effort down and watches it soar over the bar.
It is not quite coming together for South Africa at the moment who are lacking composure and accuracy in their passing. Coach Gordon Igesund could be tempted to change things at the break.
Babanco floats a cross into the South Africa penalty area but Khune is off his line quickly to punch the ball clear. Will we have a goal before the break? Five minutes remaining.
South Africa work the ball nicely from right to left before Bernard Parker looks to bring down a chipped pass but he fails to make good contact with his wild swipe and Fernando Varela clears upfield. No way past this Cape Verde defence so far!
Crystal Palace midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi looks to steal the limelight when he unleashes a venomous drive from distance, but he watches on as the ball flies high over the crossbar.
End-to-end stuff here as Cape Verde look to break the deadlock when Platini gets clear down the left, but his shot from an acute angle fires into the side netting.
Tshabalala lofts a cross deep into the penalty area which somehow finds Phala on the back post but the Platinum Stars midfielder does not anticipate it and the ball ricochets off of him for a goalkick.
In fact, it is Babanco who takes it, delivering a teasing cross to the back post but there is no red and blue shirt to meet it. Itumeleng Khune takes a quick goal-kick and Vozinha is off his line quickly to prevent Majoro from getting a shot away.
South Africa concede another needless freekick when Phala brings down Platini 25 yards from goal. Can Heldon hit the target this time?
South Africa counter-attack and they nearly expose Cape Verde but Majoro's goalbound shot is deflected clear by Neves.
Cape Verde win a freekick around 25 yards from goal, but Heldon's curling effort flies harmlessly over Khune's crossbar.
South Africa once again look for that long ball over the top of the Cape Verde defence and it nearly comes off when Majoro brings down Khumalo's punt, but Varela is on hand to steal the ball away from the Kaizer Chiefs striker.
South Africa are just lacking that creative spark in the final third at the moment. Letsholonyane drives forward from midfield and looks to slip in Phala on the right, but his attempted pass is well cut-out by Neves.
WHOOPS! Fernando Neves diverts a corner back across goal towards Heldon but the Maritimo midfielder fails to make contact with an audacious scissor kick. He had time to take that down on his chest there. The Cape Verde Islands certainly look dangerous when they come forward.
South Africa are looking to exploit Cape Verde Islands with long balls over the top of the defence but captain Fernando Neves and his central defensive partner Fernando Varela have dealt well with the aerial threat so far.
That chance seems to have rocked the Bafana Bafana who all of a sudden look a bit shakey in defence. Lucio Antunes will be happy with how his side have settled into this game.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR CAPE VERDE ISLANDS! Babanco splits the South Africa defence with an incisive through pass and Platini is through on goal, but the Santa Clara striker drags his shot wastefully across goal. That was a let-off for the hosts.
Thabo Matlaba ventures forward from defence and clips a neat ball towards Parker in the box, but it is slightly too high for the striker and Vozinha claims.
Siphiwe Tshabalala scored the opening goal of the 2010 World Cup and he almost does the same here when his left-footed freekick curls over the wall but it is claimed at the second attempt by Vozinha.
Cape Verde Islands make their first foray forward. Platini delivers a teasing cross into the box which is headed clear by Kagisho Dikgacoi. Lille striker Ryan Mendes then lines up a shot from distance but watches it flash wide of Khune's goal.
Carlitos, a cousin of Manchester United player Nani, is caught dallying in possession by Majoro but does well to recover and make an important tackle. A few nervous moments for the Cape Verde Islands in the early stages.
The Cape Verde Islands have only won three of their last ten matches. Their only warm-up match for this tournament was a 0-0 draw with Nigeria ten days ago.
Siyabonga Sangweni's long ball is flicked on by Bernard Parker towards Lehlohonolo Majoro but Toni Varela does well to intercept for the Blue Sharks.
South Africa enjoying the lion's share of the possession in the early stages of this match. Cape Verde Islands yet to enjoy a passing spell in the midfield.
Siphiwe Tshabalala whips a freekick towards the front post but Bongani Khumalo's headed effort goes wide of the post.
Bright start from South Africa with Thuso Phala causing early problems down the right wing. He tricks his way past Nivaldo before being hauled down and the Bafana Bafana have a freekick in a dangerous position.
South Africa kick off and the 2013 African Cup of Nations is finally underway!
Cape Verde captain Fernando Neves and South African captain Bongani Khumalo make speeches before the teams exchange handshakes. Can South Africa get off to a winning start like they did in 1996?
The players are on the field and the anthems of both nations reverberate around the FNB Stadium. This tournament is only moments from kicking off...Africa, are you ready?
Both sides without key players for this match as Everton's Steven Pienaar elected not to represent South Africa whilst Pacos de Ferreira defender Ricardo opted not to travel with the Cape Verde Islands.
Not quite a sell-out crowd here at a wet Soccer City but plenty of smiles and colourful costumes to match what was another impressive opening ceremony from the host nation. The Bafana Bafana are currently ranked 85th in the world in the latest Fifa standings whilst Lucio Antune's side lay in 70th. Can the Cape Verde Islands upset the hosts in the first African Cup of Nations match in their history?
CAPE VERDE ISLANDS: Vozinha, F.Varela, Babanco, Neves, Platini, T. Varela, Heldon, Soares, Nivaldo, Mendes, Carlitos.
SOUTH AFRICA: Khune, Ngcongca, Matlaba, Khumalo, Sangweni, Letsholonyane, Dikgacoi, Phala, Tshabalala, Parker, Majoro.
Let's bring you the team news, starting with the hosts...
As for the Cape Verde Islands, this is a whole new experience for them as they make their debut in the finals, famously knocking out Cameroon on route. Boasting a population of just 500,000 the Blue Sharks are not simply here to make up the numbers and as Zambia demonstrated last year, anything is possible in the African Cup of Nations.
The last time that South Africa hosted the tournament back in 1996, they went on to win it - their only African Cup of Nations triumph. The Bafana Bafana did not appear in last year's edition despite their wild celebrations at the final whistle of their last qualifying match when they believed that a draw was enough to put them through. However they are back again this year with coach Gordon Igesund, the only manager to have ever won the South African Premier League championship with four different clubs. How far can they go?
The time for Africa's greatest and most colourful sporting tournament has finally arrived! Hello and welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of the opening match of the 2013 African Cup of Nations. Today's first match sees emergency hosts South Africa take on debutants Cape Verde Islands at Johannesburg's FNB Stadium (Soccer City), the same venue which opened the 2010 Fifa World Cup when Siphiwe Tshabalala scored that wonderful goal against Mexico. Prepare for colourful outfits, funky celebrations and the return of those vuvuzuelas! My name is Max Bentley, feel free to let me know your predictions on today's opener and who you think will win the tournament via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
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