2018 World Cup Qualifying - CAF, Round Three
  • Diafra Sakho (12')
  • Thamsanqa Mkhize (38' OG)

Senegal seal place at World Cup finals with victory over South Africa

Lamine Gassama battles with Sibusiso Vilakazi. PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP/Getty Images

Senegal became the third African country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup by defeating South Africa 2-0 on Friday.

The victory gives Senegal an insurmountable five-point lead atop CAF qualifying Group D, ensuring their place in Russia alongside already-qualified Egypt and Nigeria.

The result eliminates South Africa as well as Burkina Faso and Cape Verde, while Senegal qualify for their first finals since 2002 and will appear at the global showpiece tournament for just the second time in their history after an early strike from Diafra Sakho and an unfortunate own goal from Thamsanqa Mkhize.

The match was a replay of the original November 2016 fixture that was won 2-1 by South Africa, a result that was later annulled by FIFA after Ghana referee Joseph Lamptey was found guilty of manipulating the result of the match.

After a bright opening from the hosts, it was an incisive piece of passing that put Senegal in the lead on 12 minutes.

Sadio Mane found some space on the right and his defence-splitting ball was perfect for Sakho to slide the ball past the masked Itumeleng Khune in the Bafana goal.

The home side might have equalised midway through the first half when Themba Zwane's shot was only parried by Senegal keeper Khadim N'Diaye, and Percy Tau turned home the rebound.

Bafana came even closer a few minutes later when Mkhize's low cross into the box was met by Lebogang Manyama, whose shot cannoned off the crossbar with N'Diaye well beaten.

They were applying constant pressure to the Senegal goal through this period, but the visitors doubled their advantage with a sucker-punch.

Mane failed to get a solid connection on his shot from eight yards that was saved by Khune, but the ball deflected off the back of Mkhize and dribbled into the Bafana net.

Manyama had a free-kick that provided a nervous moment for N'Diaye late in the first half, but the keeper made the save in the top corner of his net.

Sibusiso Vilakazi had the first opening of the second period, but his snap-shot was straight at N'Diaye when a yard either side of the keeper would likely have resulted in a goal.

Bafana's second-most capped player Siphiwe Tshabalala was handed an 89th cap for the final 20 minutes almost four years, but Bafana's World Cup dream had long faded by the time Dean Furman flashed a late 35-yard drive wide.

The teams will meet in the final match in the pool in Dakar on Tuesday in what is now a dead rubber.