South Africa 1-1 Mexico

Siphiwe Tshabalala provided the perfect start to South Africa's 2010 campaign before Rafael Marquez dampened the hosts' celebrations with a late equaliser

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Carlos Alberto Parreira's side appeared to be in danger of claiming the unwanted record of becoming the first host country to lose in their opening game after a first half dominated by Mexico.

But they responded superbly after the break and produced an early contender for the goal of the tournament when Tshabalala connected with a powerful left foot shot following a sweeping 55th minute move that began inside the South Africans' own half.

The goal inspired the home side and they seemed set to claim three vital points that would have given them an early advantage in the battle to claim a top two finish in Group A.

And they had another glorious chance to clinch victory after Marquez's 78th minute leveller when striker Katlego Mphela struck the outside of the post in the final minute.

The South African players appeared to be affected by the occasion during a nervy display in the opening half of the first finals to be staged in Africa.

Inspired by Tottenham striker Giovani Dos Santos, Mexico carved out a succession of good openings with Guillermo Franco twice guilty of wasting good opportunities to put Javier Aguirre's side ahead.

Parreira's team offered little until late in the half when Mphela just failed to connect with a left wing cross shortly before Teko Modise headed over from a good position.

The momentum carried over into the second period when South Africa benefited from adopting a more positive approach and they were rewarded after Modise's excellent first time pass allowed Tshabalala to advance on keeper Oscar Perez.

The South Africa winger held off the challenge of the covering defender and struck a rising drive across Perez and into the top corner of the Mexico goal.

Aguirre's side lost their way for a while but were allowed back into the game when the home defence lost concentration following a short corner.

Andres Guardardo crossed towards the far post where Marquez was one of three unmarked Mexico players and the Barcelona man slotted home with ease.

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