Monday, November 29, 1999

Forlan powers Uruguay past South Africa

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Uruguay's Diego Forlan blasted a stunning 25-metre goal in the 24th minute and added a penalty kick as the two-time world champions beat host nation South Africa 3-0 in a World Cup match here.As a result, the South Americans moved top of the Group A standings by winning the first match of the second phase of opening-round World Cup play.Atletico Madrid star Forlan yesterday opened the scoring by slamming a right-footed shot from well outside the penalty area which tucked under the crossbar, leaving South African goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune helpless.The South Africans were undone in the 76th minute when Khune was issued a red card by Swiss referee Massimo Busacca.Khune was trying to keep the ball from Ajax star Luis Suarez but caught the front of the Uruguyan's left boot with his foot and was immediately dismissed.Reserve goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs entered in place of South African striker Steven Pienaar to replace Khune, but was helpless to deny Forlan's powerful penalty kick high to his left and into the net in the 80th minute.The 10-man hosts pressed forward but were largely contained by the South Americans and they killed the game off with Porto's Alvaro Pereira adding a final goal for Uruguay in the fifth minute of stoppage time."The most important thing is not my two goals, but that we have won," said Forlan."It's a victory for all the team. We played well against France in the first game (0-0). We are very happy."South Africa had been unbeaten in their past 13 games under Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who guided his homeland to the 1994 World Cup crown.The match came on South Africa's Youth Day holiday, the anniversary of the 1976 Soweto uprising that galvanized the fight for freedom by black South Africans and helped lead to the end of apartheid in the 1990s."Bafana Bafana" had hoped to provide a brighter bit of history for South Africans to remember on June 16, but the disappointing defeat delivered a major blow to the team's bid to avoid being the first host ousted in the first round.South African midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi, who plays for Fulham, picked up a yellow card in the 42nd minute, his second in as many matches meaning he misses a potentially decisive final group match against France next Tuesday.

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