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The opening game of the Confederations Cup did not provide the fireworks the boisterous fans deserved. Goal.com examines the individual performances in the low-key fixture…

SOUTH AFRICA

Itumeleng Khune 6.5:
Was asked to do very little during the course of the match. Indeed, the Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper only had one save to make during the 90 minutes, and that was comfortably done as a shot fizzed straight at him.

Benson Mhlongo 7.0:
Like his central defensive colleagues, Mhlongo had a solid game, winning more than his share of aerial duels. His passing was a little sloppy at times, particularly in the first half.

Aaron Mokoena 7.0:
Despite having featured relatively little this season, the Blackburn Rovers man impressed during this encounter, rarely looking flustered as Bafana shut their opponents out.

Matthew Booth 8.0:
Arguably the star of the show, the solid 32-year-old, a clear favourite with the South African fans, won virtually everything in the air and let nothing passed him on the left side of the back three.

Siboniso Gaxa 7.5:
An excellent attacking outlet for South Africa, who found many of their most productive attacks were channelled down his flank. At times, his crossing could have been a little better but he was a willing and energetic runner.

Tsepo Masilela 6.5:
Provided a similar kind of service on the left as Gaxa did on the right, though he was involved less during the second period of the match. Had a harder time defensively, as Nashat Akram caused him a handful of problems when the Al-Gharafa man drifted to the Iraqi right.

Kagiso Dikgacoi 6.5:
The Golden Arrows midfielder will best remember this game for the header he had that was destined for the net, only for team-mate Parker to block it on the line. Functional, but gave the ball away too often.

MacBeth Sibaya 6.5:
Provided the stand-out moment of the first half, when his angled shot forced the Iraq custodian into a diving stop. Passages of play like this grew increasingly sporadic from Sibaya, who started the game excellently.

Teko Modise 7.0:
Came to life in the second half and was frequently involved in Bafana’s best attacking moves. One fairly major criticism would be his constantly poor delivery from set plays. Otherwise, Modise could be pleased with his contribution.

Bernard Parker 7.0:
The striker was touted as Bafana’s most dangerous player prior to the game and this was a tag he lived up to, though clearing Dikgacoi’s late header inadvertently off the line will be something he has nightmares about for weeks to come – in truth there was nothing he could have done about it, though.

Thembinkosi Fanteni 6.0:
Would probably have liked to have more of an influence on the game, but it was tough for the striker due to the number of Iraq defenders around him. Created a couple of chances for team-mates and headed narrowly over from a second half corner.

Substitutes

Katlego Mashego n/a:
Played 12 minutes as a replacement for Fanteni. Saw one great chance saved by the Iraq goalkeeper.

Steven Pienaar n/a:
The Everton man managed only a lively five minute cameo as a replacement for Dikgacoi.

IRAQ

Mohammed Kassid 7.5:
A late flap nearly allowed Dikgacoi to steal a winner for South Africa but Kassid had been key to his side prior to that moment, making a fine first half save from Sibaya and also denying Mashego excellently.

Mohammed Ali Karim 6.5:
The young defender stuck well to his task, acting as an important cog in the Iraqi defence. Still, at times he was exposed when South Africa shifted the ball quickly, which they did not do enough.

Bassim Abbas 6.5:
Another player not to have things entirely his own way over the course of the match, he stuck to his guns, despite being given an awkward time down the flank.

Fareed Majeed 7.0:
For one so young to play such a mature game was rather impressive, with the Al-Talaba defender featuring prominently in a rearguard that stifled South Africa in fine fashion.

Salam Shakir 7.5:
Like Majeed, Shakir had a strong game in a defensive role, allowing Bafana precious few chances as the Asian champions sat deep and defended superbly as a unit. One brilliant challenge on Sibaya in the first half.

Ali Rehema 7.0:
Another important cog in the defensive efforts of Iraq, the 45-capped 23-year-old showed his international experience with a solid showing. Some slack passes at the outset of the match, but that was very much in keeping with those around him.

Karrar Jassim 7.0:
Can be pleased with his showing, despite picking up a heavy knock in the opening seconds of the game when he was crunched by Fanteni. Things picked up for the central player after that.

Nashat Akram 7.5:
The playmaker of the side was, by some distance, Iraq’s most dangerous offensive player. Too often wasteful with his set-plays – Iraq’s main hope of a goal.

Mahdi Karim 7.0:
Showed his defensive attributes far more often than he was able to showcase his attacking talent. Nevertheless, a decent game. The focus on defence left Younis Mahmoud isolated in attack, though.

Emad Mohammed 6.5:
Worked hard throughout the course of the game but the striker, who has 23 international goals to his name, never looked like adding to that tally from a withdrawn role.

Younis Mahmoud 6.5:
Another hard working performer, the captain was not allowed to have any impact on the game during the second half because he was so far away for his deep lying team-mates.

Substitutes


Hawar Mulla Mohammed 6.0:
Given just 16 minutes at the end, it was tough for him to make a meaningful impression.

Alaa Abdul-Zahra n/a:
Replaced Emad Mohammed as Iraq started to attack a little more towards the death.

Salih Sadir n/a: Brought on as a time wasting measure in the closing seconds.

Robin Bairner, Goal.com

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