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Deco earns Portugal 2-0 win over South Africa

Portugal ended a three-match victory drought here on Tuesday, beating South Africa 2-0 in a friendly largely thanks to two corners from Deco.

The Chelsea midfielder was the pivotal element in Portugal’s game until he was substituted by Cristiano Ronaldo, serving full back Bruno Alves early in the first half and AEK Athens striker Edinho on 57 minutes with easy close-range headers.

Portugal took the lead within minutes as an unsteady and disorganised South African defence struggled to contain Nani on the right wing.

But the Portuguese ultimately failed to take advantage of the space left to them early in a leisurely first half.

South African goalkeeper Itumeleng Khule and Blackburn’s Aaron Mokoena formed a solid last rampart against the Manchester United player, allowing the Bafana Bafana to edge back into the game on a chilly evening in Lausanne.

Eduardo was rarely troubled until shortly before half-time, when he scrambled the ball clear from the feet of a South African striker in Bafana Bafana’s clearest chance of the match.

Carlos Queiroz’s side started the second half on top with a burst of pressure that pushed the South Africans back into their goalmouth.

A host of substitutions midway through the second half brought more pace into the game. But Brazilian coach Joel Santana failed to inject much imagination into the South African counter attacks.

Despite their skill, the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup hosts lacked physical presence against the more athletic Portuguese and rarely looked capable of repeating their win against Norway over the weekend.

Tue 31 March, 2009
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