/ 20 August 2008

Honours even as Bafana Bafana draw 2-2 with Australia

Midfielder Teko Modise rifled home a second half equaliser to earn 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa a 2-2 draw with Australia in a friendly on Tuesday.

Striker Siyabonga Nkosi gave South Africa a 21st minute lead in the game at Loftus Road, collecting a back-heel flick from Benni McCarthy to beat goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

But Mile Sterjovski lobbed a quick equaliser for Australia and Joshua Kennedy headed in a Mark Bresciano free kick in the 37th minute to put the Socceroos ahead.

South Africa hit back in the second half, putting the Australia defence under pressure until it cracked in the 57th minute, with Bryce Moon setting up Modise to hammer the ball into the right-hand corner.

South Africa coach Joel Santana, who has faced criticism since taking over from fellow Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira in May, told reporters: ”It was a good game.

”The reason for the game was for the young players to start having international experience for the 2010 World Cup.”

”First we have to find a coherent group, then start putting people in positions to get them to play better.

”In the second half we played better and created more space for our key players and took over the game.”

Santana, who is tasked with building a competitive side by the time the country host the World Cup, has not had a comfortable start to the job.

A defeat and a goalless draw in a double-header with Sierra Leone in June has left South Africa facing an embarrassingly early exit in their bid to qualify for the 2010 African Nations Cup, held before the World Cup and seen as valuable preparation.

Australia coach Jason Culina, similarly trying out young players on Tuesday ahead of World Cup qualifiers, said: ”We had a good opponent and a good atmosphere and I’m also pleased with the result.” – Reuters