Percy Tau scored a magical brace to fire Bafana Bafana to a 2-1 win over Libya in Sfax on Sunday evening, securing South Africa’s spot at the 2019 African Cup of Nations in the process.
Bafana came into the encounter knowing that only a draw was needed to secure their spot at the finals to be held later in Egypt later this year.
The hosts, Libya, who were playing in Tunisia due to the ongoing war plaguing the country, were fully aware that a win over the South Africans would see them qualify at the expense of Stuart Baxter’s charges.
Baxter named what looked like a defensive starting eleven, and it was clear from the opening few minutes that Bafana were not going to employ an expansive game plan.
In reply, Libya started the game on the front foot as Ahmad Benali drew Darren Keet into an early save, but he reacted quickly to smother the ball after a nasty bounce.
The Bafana shot stopper was again called into action to keep the scores level with 22 minutes gone. Ismaiel Sharadi must have thought his close-range effort was destined for the back of the net, but Keet produce a stunning save from point-blank range.
Bafana were struggling to create any openings, with Themba Zwane’s effort six minutes before the break their first real effort on goal.
The score 0-0 at the break with the game and Afcon qualification still in the balance.
Baxter’s men came out with more vigour in the second stanza, and were almost immediately rewarded when talisman Percy Tau fired them into the lead with 50 minutes gone. The Bafana star curled his effort into the top right-hand corner.
Bafana were then brought down to earth as Libya were awarded a dubious penalty after Keet was adjudged to have lifted his leg too high when coming out to collect a cross.
Ahmad Benali stepped up to the spot and calmly finished past Keet, the score 1-1 with 66 minutes gone.
The South Africans hit back three minutes later, however, and it was their star man, Tau, who again had the decisive say. After a short corner, Tau picked up the ball in the box before smashing his effort through the crowd and inside the far post from a tight angle.
Tau’s second was a hammer blow for the Libyans, who then needed to score two goals to secure their qualification.
The home side, try as they might, could not find a way back for the remainder of the game as Bafana grabbed the three points and secured their qualification for the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
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