Host nation's relief as SAfrica beats Angola 2-0
DURBAN, South Africa (AP) — A vastly improved South Africa scored in each half to beat Angola 2-0 at the African Cup of Nations on Wednesday, giving the host nation huge relief and reviving Bafana Bafana's chances of making the quarterfinals.
Home fans were lifted from near the depths of despair when defender Siyabonga Sangweni netted with a volley from a tight angle in the 30th minute, easing the crushing pressure on coach Gordon Igesund and his team.
Substitute Lehlohonolo Majoro then sneaked a shot through Angola goalkeeper Lama's legs in the 62nd for a vital cushion in the Group A game at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Apart from a third-minute scare, when Angola's Mateus Da Costa flashed an early shot at Itumeleng Khune's goal, South Africa had the majority of the play in Durban.
"The guys stood up and were counted today, every single one of them," Igesund said.
Sangweni's sweet volley after a loose defensive header and Majoro's skillful second also allowed South Africa to rid itself of Saturday's awful performance in the tournament opener as Igesund made five changes and went for broke after a nervous and impotent showing at Soccer City.
"I told them, if they don't want to believe in themselves, I believe in what they're doing," Igesund said. "Today I took a big risk. I played with almost five strikers."
Initially fearing another depressing performance, home fans ended the game singing and dancing and launched themselves into Mexican waves at the seaside venue.
Just four days ago, South Africa's lack of attacking intent in its dreadfully limp 0-0 draw with tournament debutant Cape Verde had the country desperately gloomy.
Home fans groaned again at the sellout 56,000-seat Moses Mabhida when Da Costa forced Khune to scramble to his right to get a slight deflection on a teasing low shot early on.
But after that, South Africa impressed its authority on a disappointing Angola team for much of the remaining 87 minutes — although Angola coach Gustavo Ferrin had real problems with what he called "poor refereeing."
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