Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the Fifa World Cup after suffering a 2-0 defeat against Senegal in their qualifier at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Friday evening, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.
Dean Furman and Kamohelo Mokotojo came into the lineup for the hosts, with Bongani Zungu ruled out after receiving a red card during their 3-1 victory over Burkina Faso on 7 September.
For Senegal, Mbaye Niang, Youssouf Sabaly, Salif Sane, Lamine Gassama and Cheikh Ndoye all came in to start, with the latter having netted a late second against Cape Verde Islands in their previous Group D encounter.
The visitors started off the better side in the opening exchanges, and took the lead after 12 minutes when Sadio Mane played Diafra Sakho through on goal before the forward slotted the ball past Itumeleng Khune to hand his side the lead.
Bafana grew in confidence and nearly equalised as Themba Zwane found space on the edge of the area before unleashing an effort at goal, but his attempt was parried away by Khadim Ndiaye right into the path of Percy Tau. However, the ball came back too quickly for the Bafana forward as he could not convert the rebound.
Lebogang Manyama had a golden opportunity to open Bafana’s account in the 28th minute as he found himself with time and space, but thundered his effort off the woodwork.
Senegal then doubled their lead in the 38th minute when Mane’s through ball into the box was stopped by Khune, but the ball rebounded off Thamsanqa Mkhize and into his own net.
Senegalese shot-stopper Khadim Ndiaye came to his side’s rescue after he made a fingertip save to deny Manyama’s venomous free kick from outside the box.
The Lions of Teranga went into the half-time interval with a two-goal lead over Bafana Bafana.
Baxter’s side continued to maintain the majority of possession in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, but were not decisive enough in the final third.
Sibusiso Vilakazi had a chance to equalise when he opened his body to get an effort in on goal after some good approach play by Manyama, but the midfielder’s effort was dealt with easily by Ndiaye.
The South African side turned up the heat after 70 minutes, but was denied by the assistant referee’s flag on a couple of occasions with Tau bearing down on goal as the forward was flagged for offside after he received a return pass on the one-two.
The home side’s confidence started to drop in the closing stages seeing that they needed three goals to save their campaign, but they failed to bypass the visitor’s defence. Senegal held on for the win to secure their place in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
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