Sithole steers Amaglug-glug into final
Sithole steers Amaglug-glug into final

Posted in News on Sep 01, 2002.

The South Africa U23 soccer team narrowly beat the Democratic Republic of Congo 2-1 on Thursday to book a place in the final of the four nation tournament in Luanda.

Amaglug-glug won through via Justice Sithole's two goals in either half at the Cidadela Stadium.

The makeshift team, which boasted only locally based players and missed regulars such as Lesley Manyeathela and Benedict Vilakazi, will meet Angola in the final on Saturday.

The DR Congo and Congo will contest the third and fourth play-offs on Friday.

Sithole brilliantly converted a cross from Thabiso Malatsi in the eighth minute to put the South Africans in front but Congo managed to equalise in the 44th minute.

Malatsi, who played his best ever football since joining the national team, created the second goal as well. The stylish Kaizer Chiefs midfielder cum striker dribbled a number of Congolese midfielders before laying a defence-splitting pass to Sithole who easily slapped home the winner in the 90th minute.

Malatsi's performance in particular thrilled hundreds of fans who gained a free entrance to the tournament which coincided with President Jose dos Santos' 60th birthday.

The SA team, which was led for the first time by new coach Kenneth Kubheka, was such a cohesive unit that even the sending off of Shaun Permall for a second bookable offence in the 58th minute failed to upset their progress to the final.

For their part, the Congolese tried to take advantage of their numerical superiority but found goalkeeper Jason Barnard uncompromising.

In fact Malatsi and Barnard should have shared the man of the match award for their sterling performances for the Sasol-sponsored team.

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