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Monday, 20 May, 2002, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
S Africa struggle past Scots
Benni McCarthy fires in the free kick that led to the first goal
Benni McCarthy's free kick led to the opening goal
South Africa 2-0 Scotland

South Africa looked every bit World Cup outsiders as they made hard work of defeating what was virtually a Scotland reserve side.

A first-half poacher's goal from Teboho Mokoena and a stoppage-time breakaway strike from George Koumantarakis separated the sides in the opening match of the four-team Reunification Cup in Hong Kong.

The Scots therefore suffered their fourth defeat in a row for the first time since Willie Ormond's reign back in 1973.

But Berti Vogts, despite becoming the first Scotland manager to have lost his first four matches, will have been more pleased with their performance than he had been by last week's 4-1 drubbing by South Korea.

Vogts' experimental side had the chances to at least draw with an outfit that looked less prepared for the rigours of the forthcoming events in Korea and Japan than the World Cup hosts.

Aaron Mokoena (right)
Aaron Mokoena (right) scored the opening goal
South Africa boss Jono Somo fielded a strong line-up, which included influential skipper Lucas Radebe.

The Leeds United defender was looking for match fitness after making his return against Celtic in Gary Kelly's testimonial following a year out through injury.

Jomo Cosmos midfielder MacBeth Sibaya was given a rare start alongside Kaizer Chiefs' Jabu Pule, who was also hoping to impress in time to win a regular place at the World Cup.


Vogts abandoned his 4-4-2 formation in favour of three central defenders, supported by wing-backs, after the bruising defeat in South Korea.

The more defensive system reduced South Africa to taking pot shots from long range.

Scotland's forward forays were less frequent but more threatening, with Sunderland reserve Kevin Kyle being handed his first start up front alongside last week's debutant goalscorer, Scott Dobie.

Full-back Maurice Ross crossed from the byline, Gareth Williams turned the ball into the six-yard box and Dobie nipped in ahead of Hans Vonk only for his flick past the goalkeeper to curl the wrong side of the post.


The Scots fell behind after 31 minutes, when Mokoena was tripped by David Weir on the edge of the box.

Benni McCarthy's powerful, low free-kick was blocked by Robert Douglas, but the goalkeeper could not hold the ball and St Gallen midfielder Mokoena was the quickest to react and drive it low into the far corner.

Vonk and his defence looked vulnerable in the air and Dobie and Kyle ought to have capitalised to equalise before the break.

West Bromwich Albion striker Dobie headed over after rising highest to a Scot Gemmill corner.

South Africa celebrate George Koumantarakis' goal
South Africa celebrate their second goal
Then Kyle missed a more gilt-edged chance when his effort went just over after Vonk had misjudged a Williams free kick.

Lee Wilkie won his first cap when he replaced Gary Caldwell at half-time and the Dundee defender went on to produce an impressively assured performance.

Scotland again came close to equalising four minutes into a second period during which Motherwell's James McFadden became the latest to win his first Scotland cap.

Dobie sent Kyle clear, but his flick over the advancing goalkeeper struck the face of the crossbar.

South Africa were again reduced to long-range efforts, while Ross came close to catching Vonk off his line with a long-range chip at the other end.

But Basle forward Koumantarakis settled the match in injury-time with a low drive as the Scots were caught out pressing forward for the equaliser.


South Africa: Vonk, Aaron Mokoena, Radebe, Issa, Carnell, Zuma, Sibaya, Fortune, Pule, McCarthy, Teboho Mokoena. Subs: Arendse, Marlin, Nzama, Mngomeni, Mukansi, Mnguni, Nomvete, Buckley, Pienaar, Molefe, Koumantarakis.

Scotland: Douglas, Stockdale, Caldwell, Dailly, Weir, Ross, Gemmill, Williams, Dobie, Kyle, Johnston. Subs: Gallacher, Neil Alexander, Graham Alexander, Stewart, O'Connor, Wilkie, McFadden, Cummings, Thompson, Severin.

Referee: Chan Siu Kee (Hong Kong).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's John Barnes
"This was more pleasing to the eye than the Korean cuffing"
BBC Five Live's Roddy Forsyth
"The Scottish youngsters have to stop making mistakes"
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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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