Thu, Apr 02, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Portugal rebuild confidence with victory over S Africa


Portugal’s Pepe, right, fights for control of the ball with South Africa’s Siphiwe Tshabalala during their international friendly match in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Tuesday.


Portugal beat South Africa 2-0 in a friendly and achieved their objective of getting goals and building confidence in the middle of a disappointing World Cup campaign on Tuesday.

Unable to score in their past three qualifying matches, Portugal took the lead after just seven minutes through defender Bruno Alves, while striker Edinho added a second after 56 minutes.

Portugal coach Carlos Quieroz said he was pleased with his team’s reaction to their goalless World Cup match at home against Sweden on Saturday.

“The players were fantastic. They committed themselves to the goals of the team,” Quieroz said. “When you score early that gives more confidence. It forces the other team to take risks and it’s more easy to play.”

The World Cup semi-finalists had the luxury of leaving world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench until it was 2-0.

Portugal were rarely troubled by the South Africans, who will host the World Cup next year.

Quieroz sent out his side to attack early and often with Nani prominent on the right wing.

From a second corner on the left, Deco delivered a deep cross to unmarked defender Alves, whose strong header downward bounced up into the roof of the net.

Midway through the half, Deco’s free-kick found the head of Edinho and the big striker’s effort flew just over the goal.

Midfielder Maniche then struck a volley just wide from 20m.

South Africa’s best chance arrived on a counterattack just before the break, but Bernard Parker hesitated when 15m out and his shot went weakly wide.

After 56 minutes, Edinho was foiled with a close-range header by goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune. Deco’s resulting corner evaded a clutch of defenders and Edinho scored with a half-volley at the far post.

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