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The BBC's Guy De Launey
"Sports fans from outside Africa will be paying attention"
 real 28k

banner Saturday, 12 February, 2000, 21:22 GMT
South Africa edge out Tunisia

A first half miss, but Bartlett is still top scorer


South Africa 2-2 Tunisia (4-3 on penalties)

South Africa have won the third place play-off in the African Nations Cup, beating Tunisia on penalties, after the north Africans levelled the scores at 2-2 in the last minute of a thrilling second half.

A slow start saw the sides level at 1-1 at half time. The competition's top scorer Shaun Bartlett put South Africa ahead in the 11th minute and Ali Zitouni scored the first of his two equalisers in the 28th.

Both his goals came from defensive mix-ups, with South Africa's goalkeeper Arendse making an embarrassing miskick of Pierre Issa's back pass to leave an open goal for the first.

Tunisia's first equaliser came after a lucky rebound
Bartlett ends the competition with five goals, two clear of his nearest rivals. He almost had another in the closing minutes of the first half.

But Bafana Bafana (The Boys) seemed to flag after giving away the equaliser, and the situation was made worse when captain Lucas Radebe limped off to be replaced by Frank Schoeman.

However, the game came alive in the second half.

Siyabonga Novmete, on for an ineffective Pollen Ndlanya, gave South Africa the lead again on the hour with a powerful left-foot shot after beating two defenders in the box.

Then, against the run of play, the Tunisians almost equalised from a corner in the 69th minute, and began to pile on the pressure.

Missed chances

In the next 10 minutes, the north Africans created three or four good chances, the best from Tarek Thabet whose header from a Zoubier Baya cross hit the left post.

They earned a penalty in the 80th minute when Issa brought down Zeid Jaziri after a penetrating run down the right.

But Khaled Badra's badly struck spot kick was easily saved by Arendse after the Tunisian seemed to stop in the middle of his run-up.

Arendse saves a poor Badra penalty


The Tunisians finally got the breakthrough in the 91st minute, when Arendse made another fumble, this time slipping on a bumpy pitch.

Taking advantage of this slice of luck, Zitouni was able to head in his second goal.

Shoot-out

Even without extra time, the players' exhaustion showed in the penalty shoot out.

Both teams' first efforts, by Sirajeddine Chihi and Novmete, were off target, the Tunisian's over the bar and the South African's wide to the left.

Then Arendse dived right to Jaziri's low shot and saved with his feet before Helman Mkhalele's shot put South Africa ahead.

The next three attempts went in but, to everyone's surprise, Bartlett missed and the sides were level again.

Khaled Badra was ordered to re-take his penalty but was not distracted, producing almost an exact replica of his first successful shot. John Moshoeu scored for South Africa.

Tunisians celebrate Zitouni's last minute goal
Tunisia's goal hero Zitouni then turned villain, missing his penalty, and Alex Bapela stepped up to clinch the win.

The result was a repeat of the 1996 final, when South Africa won with two late goals by substitute Mark Williams.

Few Ghanaians showed up to the 40,000-seater Accra Sports Stadium, even though the losers' final has a record of producing thrilling climaxes.

But this one has been overshadowed by anticipation for Sunday's sell-out final between Cameroon and the co-hosts Nigeria at the Surulere Stadium in Lagos.

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See also:
11 Feb 00 |  Cup News
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In pictures: Nigeria's semi success
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Links to other Cup News stories are at the foot of the page.