Dos Santos downs South Africa
Tunisia recorded a 3-1 victory over South Africa as they took a step towards qualifying for the knock-out stages.
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 27/01/08 9:31pm
Tunisia cruise past South Africa
Tunisia cruised to a 3-1 victory over South Africa as they took a giant step towards qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations knock-out stages.
Angola had moved to the top of Group D earlier on Sunday as they comfortably defeated Senegal.
However, Tunisia have now drawn level on points with Angola as two goals from the lethal Brazilian-born Francileudo Dos Santos sandwiched a Chouki Ben Saada strike, while South Africa could only respond late on through Katlego Mphela.
The game began in bright style contrary to suggestions that this was set to be a cagey affair as both sides went in search of the opener.
And it was Tunisia who broke the deadlock on eight minutes when Dos Santos met a Ben Saada cross to finish with a diving header.
South Africa then threatened to restore parity as veteran forward Sibusiso Zuma demonstrated that even at the age of 32 he still possesses the pace to threaten, as Tunisia goalkeeper Hamdi Kasraoui was twice forced to race from his line to clear.
However, it was Tunisia who were to extend their lead as Dos Santos broke down the inside right on 32 minutes before rattling the woodwork with a vicious cross-shot and Ben Saada coolly side-footed in the rebound.
Two minutes later the game was as good as over as Dos Santos latched on to a weak back-pass from Tunisia defender Nasief Morris to round goalkeeper Moneed Josephs and roll in from an acute angle.
Almost immediately Morris could have atoned for his error, but he headed against the Tunisian cross bar from close range.
Tunisia continued to dominate after the interval and Dos Santos could have had a hat-trick when Yacin Chikhaoui squared, but the striker somehow managed to stumble over the ball and miss from point blank range.
South Africa, though, grabbed what could prove a crucial consolation in terms of goal difference on 87 minutes as Everton's Steven Pienaar dragged a long range effort into the path of substitute Katlego Mphela who calmly finished.
The result means that Tunisia and Angola's clash on Thursday is now a battle to top the group.
Senegal and South Africa meet on the same day knowing that either side must win to qualify and hope that the Tunisia versus Angola game ends in a draw.