Bulgaria hold South Africa
World Cup hosts play out 1-1 draw in Johannesburg
Last Updated: 24/05/10 10:18pm
Sangweni: Struck for South Africa
South Africa produced an encouraging display in their latest World Cup warm-up game but were denied victory by Bulgaria.
Carlos Alberto Parreira's men were particularly impressive in the first half and took the lead through Siyabonga Sangweni after 20 minutes.
Valeri Bojinov equalised 11 minutes later and the tempo slowed after the interval as the game fizzled out into a 1-1 draw.
There was plenty of enterprising passing from the World Cup hosts early on at the Orlando Stadium, a clear indication that their recent training camps had helped create a better understanding between the players.
They had some good chances too in the opening 15 minutes - Katlego Mphela forcing Nikolay Mihaylov into a low save with his 20-yard free-kick, followed by a glancing header from the Mamelodi Sundowns striker that drifted narrowly wide.
Teko Modise, winning his 50th cap for Bafana Bafana and handed the honour of leading the team on the night, then forced the Bulgaria goalkeeper into another uncomfortable save from his 25-yard strike that was punched wide.
The pressure eventually told in the 20th minute when the deadlock was broken.
Siphiwe Tshabalala created the opening with his outswinging corner to the back post, where it was headed in by the unmarked Sangweni.
After eventually waking up from their slow start, Ivelin Popov and Bojinov tested Itumeleng Khune for the first time, before the equaliser arrived.
More sloppy defence meant that Bojinov found himself on-side in the box after a mis-hit cross by Georgi Peev on the right as he easily sent the ball beyond Khune.
Five minutes before the break, Reneilwe Letsholonyane cut open the visiting defence with a driving left-footed shot that was again only parried with the two sides heading into half-time at 1-1.
Parreira made several changes at the break, with the likes of Aaron Mokoena, Tsepo Masilela and Kagisho Dikgacoi introduced, but it seemed to affect the home side going forward.
It was Bulgaria that almost went ahead before the hour mark when Dimitar Rangelov was picked out on the right, but his shot was excellently kept out by Khune.
The game disappointingly faded for the hosts thereafter - the visitors ending much stronger and looking the more likely to score - with Parreira's men having another chance to build when they come up against Colombia on Thursday.