BAFANA Bafana produced one of the most scintillating performances when they beat the Lions of Teranga in an absorbing FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia qualifier at Peter Mokaba stadium on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, South Africa will assume top position in the group and with back to back matches against Cape Verde next year, Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba’s boys will fancy the trip to Russia.
Mashaba himself admitted after the match that his boys had answered the call and had not seen his boys so hungry like that for a long time.
And with a bit of some luck, Bafana Bafana could have scored a couple of more goals but that 2-1 win and the three points will see Mashaba look back with satisfaction.
In the end, two first half goals by captain Thulani Hlatshwayo (penalty) and Thulani Serero were enough to seal a memorable victory for the home side.
Senegal where the first to threaten when Sadio Mane’s header went over the bar from a free kick on the left flank as Bafana Bafana survived an anxious moment.
With very little to separate the two sides, both teams hardly created clear cut chances in the opening 25 minutes although the home team fashioned a few promising openings.
Mathoho then mistimed his header allowing Moussa Konate to ghost into the box but his cross was easily dealt with by Rivaldo Coetzee.
Keagan Dolly then missed a glorious opportunity when he shot straight at the keeper after a delicate pass from Mpho Makola.
Bafana Bafana were awarded a penalty on the 41st minute after Eleazer Rogers header was handled in the box and captain Hlatshwayo made no mistake from the spot.
South Africa then made it 2-0 as they took a total grip on the game when Serero slid home another good move involving Makola and Rogers.
It was a half which turned things around in dramatic fashion as Peter Mokaba Stadium erupted into jubilation.
Bafana Bafana then took the eye off the ball as Konate’s free header went tantalisingly wide of the stranded Khune soon after resumption.
The number one goalkeeper then made a good save as Senegal chased the match. On the other end, Makola should have done better and moments later Dolly’s audacious attempt went wide.
Diouf then saw his free header going over the bar after Bafana Bafana defence had been prised open.
Andile Jali then made a maze run in the midfield but the final touch eluded him as Hlompho Kekana tried a long range shot from a free kick.
Moments later, Senegal pulled one back during a goalmouth scramble to make it 2-1 in the 77th minute.
As Bafana Bafana sat back trying to preserve the precious lead, the West Africans poured forward looking for the equaliser as the home team made some errors at the back.
Khune made another great save on the 89th minute as Senegal camped in Bafana Bafana half but the match ended 2-1 for the home team.
Meanwhile SAFA has confirmed that Mashaba will not join the team on their trip to Mozambique as the Association has deemed it necessary to employ disciplinary measures after a regrettable incident at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Assistant Coach Owen da Gama will take charge of the team in the above-mentioned international friendly match against Mozambique on tomorrow (Tuesday, November 15) in Maputo.
As is our custom in matters such as these, the Association will not be making any further comments on this matter out of respect for the dignity of the Head Coach and the Association and the legally privileged nature of such proceedings.-www.safa.net