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Mexico claims first victory in U.S. Cup

Mexico earned its first victory of the U.S. Cup '95 soccer tournament Saturday when Ignacio Ambriz scored in the 77th minute for a 2-1 win over Nigeria in Dallas.

Ambriz, the Mexican team captain, took a short pass from Luis Alves off the left wing and sent a 25-yard shot past goalkeeper Ike Soronmu into the upper left-hand corner of the net.

Mexico, which trailed 1-0 against Nigeria, completed the four-team tournament at 1-1-1 before a pro-Mexico crowd of 27,166 at the Cotton Bowl. Nigeria, missing most of its World Cup stars, finished last at 0-3-0.

In the tournament's finale, the United States meets Colombia today in Piscataway, N.J. The Americans can clinch the championship with a win or a tie.

RUGBY: Flyhalf Joel Stransky landed his second drop goal of the game with seven minutes of extra time remaining to give host South Africa a 15-12 victory over New Zealand in the World Cup final in Johannesburg. Stransky scored all 15 points for South Africa, including the 30-yard kick that provided the final lead, to send a sellout 62,000 crowd into a dancing, singing frenzy. Nelson Mandela, who used to cheer against the Springboks during his years of captivity, was decked out in Springboks regalia as he handed the gold champions' trophy to team captain Francois Pienaar.

BASKETBALL: Predrag Danilovic, who is joining the Miami Heat, scored 18 points and led Yugoslavia to an 87-74 victory over Italy at the European Championships in Athens. Vlade Divac of the Los Angeles Lakers had nine points in the first 4:26 minutes and played a major role in the run that gave Yugoslavia a 20-7 lead with six minutes gone. He wound up with 11 points. The victory improved Yugoslavia's record to 3-0 and virtually assured a berth in quarterfinals for the team making its return after being banished internationally for 2{ years because of U.N. sanctions. Croatia also likely is headed to the quarterfinals; the Toni Kukoc-led squad posted a 80-70 victory over Spain.

TRACK: World and Olympic champion Linford Christie won the 100 meters and helped his British team to a 4x100 relay victory after being a questionable starter at the European Cup meet in Villeneuve d'Ascq, France. Germany, which won both team titles last year, was ahead in the men's standings with 62 points. Russia led in the women's division with 63 points. A teenage girl who was the world's youngest track and field athlete to test positive for steroids has been banned from competing. Liza de Villiers, 14, was banned by Athletics South Africa for four years and three months at a disciplinary hearing Friday.

ET CETERA: The Rainbow Coalition plans to rate colleges by the graduation rates of their black athletes and the hiring and promotion rates of black coaches and administrators, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said. Steffen Peters became the 1995 U.S. Equestrian Team dressage champion in Gladstone, N. J., a victory he hopes will bring him closer to riding in the Olympics.

_ Compiled from Times wires