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sen v sa

The evening kick off match for Group C to follow the dramatic ending between Ghana and Algeria brought together winless South Africa and Senegal who themselves profited form an injury-time winner four days ago. Both teams had impressed in their first games, Bafana Bafana looking good against Algeria until missing a second half penalty when one goal up leading to a capitulation and an eventual 3-1 loss but with many positives to be taken from the match. Senegal were more than worth the 3 points in their victory over Ghana so the crowd once again were expectant after rather a drab game earlier in the day.

It was to prove to be the archetypal game of two halves with the first 45 producing little in the way of chances or excitement. Bafana Bafana continued their trademark short-passing interplay, always looking good on the ball with neat one touch football though the best chance of the half fell to Mame Diouf who headed wide from a corner, a chance the striker should have got on target at the very least. As we have seen so many times in this competition, the half-time break resulted in a change in tempo for the game, in this instance bringing instant results. Only one minute into the half, Anele Ngcongca sent a hopeful ball across the Senegalese box, somehow finding it’s way across a sea of defenders and attackers. Opua Manyisa of the Orlando Pirates gratefuly received the ball unmarked, shooting back across the face of the goal giving Senegal goal-keeper Bouna Coundoul no chance, for his first international goal. the Lions of Teraga also sparked into life for the second half, now a goal down and forced to chace the game, their temp of play increased drastically from the first half. Papakouli Diop and Moussa Sow were instrumental in everything Senegal produced going forward, Lamine Sane and Genk’s Kara Mbodj holding their own at the heart of the defence.

South Africa continued to play their short passing game, but Senegal dictated play more and more as the half wore on. On the hour mark Senegal drew level with a thumping header from Mbodj, rising to meet a Diop free kick lofted into the box. One one and all to play for, for both teams promising a great finale to an evenly fought battle. Although Senegal would go on to have more chances the result was to remain a one-one draw, Sow, Diouf and N’Dpye all coming close for Senegal, Thabo Matlaba of South Africa forcing a fine last ditch tackle from Lamine Gassame after more slick inter-play. But a point apiece was all either team could manage, a draw much better for Senegal than the South Africans who have now squandered leads in both of their matches. Boss Shakes Mashaba, stressed after the game, the importance of not losing today, as even on one point they go into the final game against Ghana with some hope. With a victory against the Black Stars and a Senegalese win over Algeria they will see knockout football, every team in the dreaded Group of Death going into the final group games with hope alive.