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Sunday, 2 June, 2002, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Fortune forgets Mali misery
Paraguayan goalkeeper Ricardo Tavarelli fails to stop a penalty by South Africa's Quinton Fortune
South Africa's Fortune slots home a last-gasp equaliser
BBC Sport Online's Stuart Roach

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South Africa's penalty hero Quinton Fortune believes Bafana Bafana's fighting comeback against Paraguay underlines a new found belief in the squad.

Jomo Sono's side battled back from two goals down to force a draw in Busan, thanks to Fortune's dramatic last-minute penalty.

But the Manchester United midfielder admitted he was terrified of missing the crucial spot kick.

Open Quote
There was a little bit of doubt because I had missed a penalty in the African Cup of Nations in Mali
Close Quote
Quinton Fortune
"I can say now that there was a little bit of doubt because I had missed a penalty in the African Cup of Nations in Mali," he told BBC Sport Online.

"I was pretty nervous, obviously, but I just tried to stay focused - on the ball and what I needed to do.

"Fortunately for me it went in."

It was certainly a case of Fortune favouring the brave as South Africa threw everything forward late on in a bid to snatch a draw.

"The belief has always been there," Fortune revealed.

"Before the tournament we had been playing friendlies and winning.

"Against Paraguay we had a sense that we were creating chances but we just weren't taking them.

"At half-time the coach just told us to keep going and everyone came together and said we can still come back and do something.

"But to come back from two down was special."

Somo salute

Somo, who only took over as coach in March, has instilled new optimism in his squad after a disappointing African Nations showing, which cost Carlos Queiroz his job.

"It would be unfair to criticise the manager before," said Fortune.

South Africa's Quinton Fortune
Fortune celebrates after a terrific penalty
"He was a good manager and we were all disappointed with Mali.

"Our coach was sacked but I don't think it was down to the coach, it was down to us.

"We had to take the blame for our performance and we wanted to put that right on a world stage."

South Africa's brave draw with Paraguay came the day after the country lost one of its biggest sporting names.

And Fortune said the players had been aware of Hanse Cronje's death in a plane crash as they prepared for the game with Paraguay.

"I heard about the crash on the morning of the game. A few of the players were talking about it.

"He was a big sports personality in our country and is a great loss, so it's very sad."


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GROUP B
  P GD PTS
SPAIN 3 +5 9
PARAGUAY 3 0 4
SOUTH AFRICA 3 0 4
SLOVENIA 3 -5 0

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