Hosts South Africa and Iraq shared the spoils in the opening game of the Fifa Confederations Cup in Johannesburg. The hosts missed a hatful of chances with Kagisho Dikgacoi unlucky to see a goalbound header accidently blocked on the line by team-mate Bernard Parker.

0-0Earlier South Africa’s Macbeth Sibayo saw his 20-yard shot tipped round the post by Iraqi keeper Mohammed Kassid. Striker Parker saw two efforts saved by Kassid while Thembinkosi Fanteni headed Teko Modise’s corner over the bar. Substitute Katlego Mashego should have done better for South Africa when finding himself one-on-one with Kassid.

But as was the case for much of the game the Iraq keeper proved to be unbeatable, doing well to smother the ball at the feet of Mashego. Iraq rarely threatened South Africa who were cheered on by a partisan crowd of 48,837 at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park. The one time the hosts did beat Kassid, Parker found himself in the way of Dikgacoi’s header, blocking it on the line and away to safety.

Earlier Fifa president Sepp Blatter had opened the tournament after a colourful ceremony at Ellis Park. “Fifa is committed to Africa,” said Blatter. “The world of football trusts you, and the confidence is in you. It is in Africa, it is in South Africa today.” Spain and New Zealand also await both teams in Group A.

South Africa: Itumeleng Khune; Siboniso Gaxa, , Aaron Mokoena (capt), Matthew Booth, Tsepo Masilela; Benson Mhlongo, Macbeth Sibaya, Teko Modise, Kagisho Dikgacoi; Bernard Parker (Steven Pienaar 85), Thembinkosi Fanteni (Katlego Mashego 78).

Booked: Fanteni 2, Sibaya 81

Iraq: Mohammed Kassid; Mohammed Ali Kareem, Basem Abbas, Fareed Majeed, Salam Shaker, Ali Hussein Rehema; Nashat Akram, Karrar Jassim (Hawar Mohammed 75), Mahdi Kareem (Salih Sadir 88); Emad Mohammed (Alaa Zahra 76), Younis Mahmoud (capt).

Booked: Akram 74, Att: 48,837, Ref: Jorge Larrionda (URU)


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