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South Africa Sends Slovenia to the Sidelines

June 09, 2002|Grahame L. Jones

DAEGU, South Korea — South Africa scored its first World Cup victory Saturday, defeating Slovenia, 1-0, in front of a crowd of 47,226 and positioning itself to possibly advance to the final 16.

All the same, 24-year-old forward Siyabonga Nomvethe's fourth-minute goal was something of a fluke. He stooped to head a free kick from teammate Quinton Fortune, missed the ball but saw it bounce off his thigh and into the net.

It was that sort of game for the Slovenians, whose team had come unraveled earlier in the week when Coach Srecko Katanec and star forward Zlatko Zahovic got into a shouting match that resulted in the player being sent home from the World Cup.

Katanec, who has said he will resign after this tournament, himself was banished from the bench during the game by referee Angel Sanchez of Argentina.

South Africa will play Spain in its final first-round match and needs only a point to clinch a place in the second round.

It can also advance if Paraguay fails to defeat Slovenia in its final game Wednesday.

"We could have scored more," South Africa Coach Jomo Sono said. "We missed a lot of chances."

One, however, was all it took to make Slovenia the third team eliminated from the tournament after the earlier falls of Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

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