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Late goal gives Mexico tie with host

South Africa’s Reneilwe Letsholonyane, left, and Mexico’s Gerardo Torrado vie for the ball during the teams’ 1-1 tie to open the tournament. Both teams get one point in Group A.

Associated Press

South Africa’s Reneilwe Letsholonyane, left, and Mexico’s Gerardo Torrado vie for the ball during the teams’ 1-1 tie to open the tournament. Both teams get one point in Group A.

JOHANNESBURG — A joyous day for South Africa. A not quite perfect result.

South Africa gave up the lead on a goal by Mexico's Rafael Marquez in the 79th minute and settled for a 1-1 draw Friday before 84,000 horn-blaring fans.

Siphiwe Tshabalala had given the host nation a dream start, finishing off an excellent move in the 55th minute to set off wild celebrations at Soccer City. But the South Africans left defender Marquez open, and he collected a left-wing cross to score the tying goal.

"We could easily have won the game," South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said. "All in all at the end a draw is a fair result. We are still in the competition."

France 0, Uruguay 0: The game between former champions produced an opening day dud, yet each team expressed satisfaction for gaining a point.

"It is almost a beautiful 0-0," France coach Raymond Domenech said. "But the result is what it is."

Even if some of the tournament's top stars — France's Franck Ribery and Uruguay's Diego Forlan — showed flashes, the fear of losing the opening game stifled both offenses.

The low point came when Uruguay's Nicolas Lodeiro was ejected after a wild challenge on Bacary Sagna in the 81st minute for his second yellow card.

"There weren't many chances for either team, neither team wanted to take many chances," Forlan said. "It was very complicated. The whole game was equal, I thought."

Late goal gives Mexico tie with host 06/12/10 [Last modified: Saturday, June 12, 2010 12:12am]

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