Ten-man Bafana Bafana cruised to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Burkina Faso in their Fifa World Cup qualifier at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon, writes Dylan Appolis.
Stuart Baxter’s side came into this encounter placed at the foot of Group D, claiming one point from three matches, after their victory over Senegal was forced to be replayed due to match manipulation.
Paulo Duarte’s men occupy top spot in the group, level on six points with Cape Verde.
The home side got off to a bright start and broke the deadlock as early as the first minute when Percy Tau flicked the ball into the net, which was adjudged to have crossed the line by the assistant referee.
At the other end Burkina Faso started seeing more of the ball and had a chance in the 11th minute after Issouf Ouattara went close with his strike, but his effort was well blocked by Clayton Daniels.
South Africa doubled their lead in the 33rd minute after Themba Zwane latched on to a delightful through-ball from Andile Jali, before producing a great right-footed finish to beat Burkina Faso goalkeeper Herve Koffi.
Baxter’s side then extended their lead even further when a clever back-heel from Tau found an unmarked Sibusiso Vilakazi inside the area, who guided the ball into the net from close range to hand Bafana a three-goal lead heading into the half-time interval.
Bafana had a great opportunity to take the lead early in the second half when Pau switched play to Zwane on the left before the midfielder charged into the box, getting the better of two defenders, but took a touch too much and saw his effort go wide of the post.
Itumeleng Khune came to his side’s rescue in the 53rd minute after the keeper stayed strong to deny Burkina Faso’s first clear-cut chance of the day from close range.
The home side should’ve taken the lead in the 60th minute when Tau delivered a through ball to Vilakazi before the attacking midfielder tried to beat Koffi with a deft chip, but his effort went wide of the target.
Bafana were dealt a major blow in the nine minutes later when Bongani Zungu was given his marching orders after involving himself in a heated melee.
Baxter opted to make a change in the 71st minute when he introduced Hlompho Kekana to replace Jali in the centre of the midfield.
The South African side made their second change in the 82nd minute as Lebogang Manyama came off the bench to replace Vilakazi.
However, Burkina Faso eventually pulled a goal back in the 87th minute after Alain Traore curled his wonderful left-footed free kick into the top corner.
The home side held on to their 3-1 lead over Burkina Faso until the final whistle to claim all three points at the FNB Stadium.
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