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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

South Africans Celebrate Soccer Title


SOWETO, South Africa -- South Africans celebrating their African Nations' Cup soccer triumph are looking now to the Cricket World Cup in Pakistan to complete a hat trick that began with last year's Rugby World Cup win.

Substitute striker Mark Williams scored two goals within a minute in the second half to give South Africa a 2-0 victory over Tunisia and the championship in its first African Cup tournament.

Williams replaced Phil Masinga in the 65th minute and eight minutes later completed a series of headers off a Doctor Khumalo free kick to finally beat Tunisian goalkeeper Chokri el Ouaer and send a packed crowd of more than 80,000 fans into a screaming, flag-waving frenzy.

A minute later, Khumalo's pass sent Williams in on the left side and his left-footed strike found the far corner behind a diving el Ouaer, setting off non-stop dancing and singing.

It was the first victory for a southern African side in the African Cup, being played for the 20th time since the inaugural tournament in 1957. South African players collapsed in joy at the final whistle, then did headlong slides at each end during a raucous lap of honor.

President Nelson Mandela stood and cheered with the rest, celebrating yet another sports victory for South Africa since its return to the international arena after being banned for years because of apartheid. He later kissed the large silver cup emblematic of African soccer supremacy when it was presented to South African captain Neil Tovey.

"This day belongs to South Africa," national soccer coach Clive Barker said as a countrywide celebration began with the final whistle.

"Now we hope (cricket captain) Hansie Cronje and the cricketers will complete our country's victories in major international sporting events."

Police reported only one incident on Sunday in the noisy national celebrations that continued past dawn in many of the country's soccer-mad black townships.

The FNB Stadium on the edge of the Soweto black township was almost full hours before the final, when Zambia defeated Ghana 1-0 on a second-half goal by Joel Bwalya to win third place.

Unlike other soccer matches in South Africa, several thousand whites mixed with the predominantly black crowd, showing the success of Mandela's efforts to use sports to break down racial barriers in the former apartheid state.


Gavin Peacock scored three goals as Chelsea outplayed Middlesbrough 5-0 Sunday to jump two places to eighth in the English soccer standings. Three goals in 10 first half minutes swept aside a Middlesbrough team still missing its Brazilian star Juninho, who has been sidelined for three weeks with a knee injury.

French striker Eric Cantona made a triumphant return to the scene of his kung-fu-style attack on a Crystal Palace fan a year ago, scoring twice in Manchester United's 4-2 victory at Wimbledon, which shares Selhurst Park with Palace. ()

(For other results, see Scorecard.)