Percy Tau found the back of the net with the last kick of the game as Bafana Bafana played to a 1-1 draw in their Nelson Mandela Challenge encounter against Paraguay, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
South Africa coach Stuart Baxter rang in the changes to his side that played to a 1-1 draw against Nigeria in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations clash, with Darren Keet, Motjeka Madisha, Innocent Maela, Ramhlwe Mphahlele, Lebogang Maboe, Teboho Mokoena and Vincent Pule being handed starting berths.
The last Nelson Mandela Challenge took place in 2016, with the home side claiming a 1-0 victory against Egypt thanks to a striker from Mpho Makola.
The home side signalled their attacking intent from the first whistle and came close to breaking the deadlock in the 2nd minute, however Percy Tau fired his shot straight at the goalkeeper after being put through on goal by Teboho Mokoena.
Paraguay eventually got into their rhythm and looked well-organised both in the attack and defence.
The visitors enjoyed a fruitful spell of play pinning South Africa deep in their own half with a series of quick interplays, however they failed to create any clear-cut goalscoring chances.
Bafana’s tempo dipped as the game went along, while the visitors seemed to grow in confidence. Paraguay dominated the midfield battle largely due to their high-pressing tactic which forced Bafana to often given away possession.
The visitors broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute when Madisha gave away the ball cheaply which resulted in a tap-in for Federico Santander.
Madisha almost gifted Paraguay the second minutes later when he gifted possession to Santander, however the striker blazed his effort wide, when a pass inside the area would have proved a better option.
Paraguay were in complete control of the game and came agonisingly close to doubling their lead moments before the half-time break, however Derlis Gonzalez’ effort cannoned off the woodwork with the South African defence well-beaten.
South Africa made four changes at half-time with Ronwen Williams, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Dino Ndlovu and Fortune Makaringe replacing Keet, Madisha, Mothiba and Tiyani Mabunda respectively.
Bafana looked good in patches with thei intricate passing patters, but struggled to break down a resilient and well-organised Paraguayian defence.
Despite still enjoying the upper-hand, the South Americans looked to wind down the clock in a bid to manage their lead.
South Africa were foreced into a substitution in the 55th minute when Mphahlele was taken off for Cape Town City captain Thamsanqa Mkhize.
Baxter opted for his final roll of the dice when he threw on attacking midfielder Thulani Serero, who replaced Lebogang Maboe.
The substitution paid dividends as Serero supplied Tau for the equaliswe with virtually the last kick of the game to share the spoils.
Photo: Gallo Images
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