Bafana Bafana and Ivory Coast could not be separated in the first half of their opening Africa Cup of Nations Group D clash at Al Salam Stadium this afternoon.
Despite dominating the first half and having more clear cut opportunities, the West Africans could not take a lead going into the break. Nicolas Pepe struck the crossbar just after the half hour mark with a sweetly taking free kick, before SuperSport United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was called upon to make a brilliant save to deny Kodjia a few minutes later. These were the best two chances of the half from the Ivorians, who will feel that they should at least have a one goal lead going into the break.
Bafana, meanwhile, made a nervy start to the match, giving away possession cheaply. They settled a bit as the half went on, but they hardly threatened the Ivory Coast goal. Captain Thulani Hlatshwayo had a half chance with a header from a Sifiso Hlanti cross, but it went wide of goal. The South Africans held on doggedly to ensure they go into the break without conceding a goal, but they will need an improved performance in the second half, especially in the opposition half of the field.