Sene­gal end Bafana's World Cup hopes

Observer on Saturday - - Sport - Soc­cer Lad­uma

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.

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