DURBAN, South Africa – Paraguay and South Africa played to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday in a friendly match that marked Juan Carlos Osorio’s debut as new coach of the South American squad.
It likewise marked Paraguay’s return to South African soil eight years after reaching the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup here.
The hosts dominated the opening half hour amid rain at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium in the 24th Nelson Mandela Challenge, but were unable to translate their dominance into goals.
Instead, Paraguay struck first, as Federico Santander exploited a poor save by South African goalkeeper Darren Keet to put the visitors ahead 1-0 in the 31st minute.
The South Americans retained the initiative for the balance of the first half and would have doubled the advantage in the 39th minute if Cecilio Dominguez’s strike hadn’t bounced off the left post.
Both teams made changes after the break and the second half saw fewer chances, though each side had a goal disallowed for an offside.
Finally, Percy Tau, who had been South Africa’s best player from the opening whistle, charged down the field on the counter and beat Paraguay keeper Antony Silva for the equalizer.
The Challenge was launched in 1994, the year Mandela (1918-2013) took office as South Africa’s first president under majority rule.