Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana completed their
preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament by holding
fancied Algeria to a goalless draw at Orlando Stadium, in Soweto, on
South Africa, who are 68 places below Algeria
in the world rankings, had the better chances in the first half, pushing
forward in the latter stages before the break.
however, in their struggle to capitalise up front, just one week before
their AFCON opener against Cape Verde Islands.
created the first excitement of the game, after a lame opening 20
minutes, but he mistimed an attempted bicycle kick in front of the
Hameur Bouazza received the ball in space
soon after, but he was placed under pressure by Bafana keeper Itumeleng
Khune and chipped the ball wide to the left with a deflected effort.
minutes later Bouazza had the first real opportunity of the game,
slipping into the area from the left, but he blasted over the crossbar.
after the half-hour mark, Bernard Parker placed the ball well from a
long-range free kick, but Siyabonga Sangweni just failed to get to it.
Simani thundered a wayward left-footed shot high and left from the edge
of the area seven minutes before the break, fluffing the visiting
side's last chance of the opening period.
Moments later Katlego
Mphela intercepted for Bafana and rounded a defender, but he hurriedly
blasted straight to Algerian keeper Rais Mbolhi, who kept the ball out
with his legs.
In the dying stages of the second half, Parker
fired in a curling left-footed strike, with Mbolhi diving to his right
to parry it wide.
Bafana coach Gordon Igesund made wholesale
changes in the second half and the hosts seemed a little more disjointed
as Algeria got a couple of breakthroughs.
Five minutes after the
break, Simani charged down the left flank and slid in, with only Khune
to beat, but he hit the side netting from a tight angle.
then took Algeria's first shot on target, in the 55th minute, which was
easily saved by Khune, who got off the ground to reach it.
surged ahead sporadically in the final half hour, and Siphiwe
Tshabalala slammed in an attempt off the volley, which sailed
centimetres over the bar.
Fellow replacement Reneilwe Letsholonyane took a wild strike that soared into the crowd with 11 minutes left in the match.
Africa face Cape Verde in the opening encounter of the AFCON tournament
in Johannesburg next week. They also square up against Morocco and
Angola in Group A.
Algeria are up against the Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Togo in Group D.