Senegal end Bafana's World Cup hopes
Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup after they lost 2-0 to Senegal at the Peter Mokaba Stadium last Friday evening.
Itumeleng Khune started in goal for the hosts after recovering from a facial fracture sustained in Sunday’s Telkom Knockout quarter-final between Kaizer Chiefs and Chippa United.
Bafana started brightly, bossing the early possession. However, the Lions of Teranga drew first blood in the 12th minute. Sadio Mané played Sakho through on goal with a defence-splitting pass and the West Ham striker slotted the ball past Khune.
Despite all their early possession, South Africa failed to test Khadim N’Diaye until the 25th minute — when Themba Zwane unleashed a powerful shot. The Saint-Louis keeper could only parry to Percy Tau, but the Sundowns star was not afforded enough time to control the ball properly.
Four minutes later, Lebogang Manyama rattled the crossbar after getting on the end of a
low ball into the danger area. In the 38th minute, Sakho played a low cross into the path of Mané from the right. Khune’s outstretched leg denied the Liverpool frontman, but the ball ricocheted off Mkhize and into the net.
Seven minutes later, Manyama went close again, but N’Diaye tipped his free-kick over the bar to preserve the two-goal lead.
Bafana went into the break just about down and out of the running for Russia 2018.
The second half got off to a slow start, with Senegal showing little will to get forward and South Africa battling to break down their defence.
The first real chance of the half fell to Sibusiso Vilakazi in the 57th minute after a promising build-up inside the Senegalese box, but he fired the ball straight down N’Diaye’s throat.
Sixty-three minutes in, Stuart Baxter made his first substitution, bringing on Andile Jali for Manyama.
Bafana continued to dominate play, but Senegal held firm at the back. Baxter responded by the situation to making his second change six minutes after his first, replacing Zwane with Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Aliou Cissé’s side occasionally threatened on the counter, with Mané causing nightmares for the South African defence down the right.
Goalscorer Sakho was replaced in the 78th minute as Moussa Konaté became the first Senegalese substitute to come on.
Bafana persisted in vain with their efforts on attack as Dean Furman missed the target from long range. Baxter then brought Bradley Grobler on for Vilakazi, leaving the SuperSport United forward with seven minutes plus stoppage time to affect the game.
In the 86th minute, Senegalese captain Cheikhou Kouyaté made way for Alfred N’Diaye.
Senegal then made their final change in stoppage time as Saliou Ciss replaced M’Baye Niang.
The full-time whistle saw the Lions of Teranga move five points clear at the top of Group D and assured them of top spot. South Africa, by contrast, were left seven points behind Senegal.
The clash between the two sides in Dakar on November 14, will therefore have nothing but pride riding on it.