Senegal have qualified for their second World Cup finals after beating South Africa 2-0 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, South Africa.
Returning after a 16-year absence from Football’s biggest competition, Senegal join Nigeria and Egypt as the third of Africa’s five qualifiers.
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane was key to their victory: Assisting Diafra Sakho to score the first, before sealing the game with a lucky goal that rebounded off the head of South African defender Thamsanqa Mkhize into the net after Mane’s close-range effort.
At 1-0, South Africa were unlucky not to get a goal back as Lebogang Manyama struck the crossbar from close-range, while Percy Tau was unable to knock in the rebound after Senegal goalkeeper Khadim Ndiaye saved a Themba Zwane effort.
Missing defender Kara Mbodji due to suspension, at times Senegal seemed to struggle against the home side’s short-passing game.
Even though South Africa dominated territory and possession, along with having a number of scoring chances, they could not convert.
Qualifying his team for the World Cup, sees Senegal coach Aliou Cisse joining the late former Nigeria captain Stephen Keshi as individuals who have played at and qualified a team for Fifa’s showpiece event, local media have pointed out.
Earlier this year Fifa ordered the World Cup qualifier to be replayed after the referee awarded a penalty for a “nonexistent handball” and was banned for life for match manipulation. In that match, South Africa won 2-1.