South Africans Thwarted by Penalty Kicks
By Tom Cohen
Wednesday, June 24, 1998; 12:02 p.m. EDT
Sami al-Jaber scored in first-half injury time and Youssef al-Thyniyan netted in the 74th minute for the Saudis, who salvaged a point after two losses that ensured the team's first-round elimination and cost coach Carlos Alberto Parreira his job.
Shaun Bartlett scored in the 18th minute and added a penalty in second-half injury time for South Africa, which needed to win and make up a four-goal deficit to Denmark in goal differential in order to advance. Although Denmark lost 2-1 to France in the other Group C finale, the Danes qualified along with the French from the group.
Both South African penalties were called on defender Pierre Issa, who had a forgettable World Cup. Issa also gave up an own goal in the Bafana Bafana's first game against France.
To Issa's credit, the first call was questionable. Chilean referee Mario Sanchez Yanten awarded the spot kick, even though replays showed Saudi captain Youssef al-Thyniyan fell to the turf despite the slightest touch from Issa's outstretched arm.
The contact on the second penalty was initiated by the Saudi striker Ibrahim al-Shahrani outside the penalty area, but Issa retaliated inside the box and dragged al-Shahrani to the ground.
South Africa, which had scored only once in its first two games, took the lead when Bartlett got position on defender Fuad Amin and chased down Issa's through ball before beating goalkeeper Mohammed al-Deayea with a left-footed drive.
Desperately needing goals, South Africa pressed forward in the second half but suffered from disorganization. Bartlett's second goal came far too late three minutes into injury time after Hussein Sulimani brought down Jerry Sikhosana in the box.
Suspensions and injuries left South Africa with only five non-goalkeeper reserves. Starting midfielder Brendan Augustine and reserve Naughty Mokoena were sent home for violating a curfew, and midfielder Alfred Phiri is serving a three-game ban for his red card against Denmark. Striker Phil Masinga of Bari is out with a bad ankle.
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press