FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifying: Senegal qualify after winning replay

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Senegal sealed a return to the FIFA World Cup™ for the first time since their 2002 debut thanks to a 2-0 win over South Africa in World Cup qualifying African Group D.

Diafra Sakho scored the opener for the visitors in Polokwane, before a somewhat fortuitous Thamsanqa Mkhize own goal sealed the three points for the Teranga Lions. The visitors are now five points ahead of nearest Group D challengers Burkina Faso with one game remaining.

Senegal stunned the world by beating World Cup holders France in their first ever game at the global finals in 2002, and if they are to produce performances to match that at Russia 2018, it is likely that Liverpool’s Sadio Mane will be the catalyst.

Unsurprisingly, Mane was integral to the victory that booked their World Cup return, with a wonderfully incisive through ball teeing up Sakho for the opener, while he was involved in the tangle of bodies that led to the second.

2010 World Cup hosts South Africa played their part – and even dominated possession for spells – in a lively match, with Lebogang Manyama hitting the crossbar, but the second goal just before half-time knocked the wind out of their sails.

Head coach Aliou Cisse was the Senegalese captain during their 2002 debut, which saw them follow up that remarkable opening win against France to reach the quarter-finals. The former midfielder will be hoping he can inspire them to achieve similarly superlative heights next year in Russia.

Johannesburg: English Premier League pair Diafra Sakho and Sadio Mane played key roles as Senegal defeated South Africa 2-0 in Polokwane Friday to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

West Ham striker Sakho opened the scoring off a pass from Liverpool attacker Mane and both were involved in the move that led to a Thamsanqa Mkhize own-goal before half-time.

Victory gave Senegal an uncatchable five-point lead over Burkina Faso and Cape Verde in Group D with one round left.
Senegal’s players celebrate after winning the FIFA 2018 World Cup Africa Group D qualifying football match between South Africa and Senegal at The Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polkowane on November 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PHILL MAGAKOE

Senegal’s players celebrate after qualifying for the FIFA 2018 World Cup. AFP

The only previous World Cup appearance by Senegal was in 2002 when current coach Aliou Cisse captained a team that reached the quarter-finals in South Korea and Japan.

Bottom-of-the-table South Africa lie seven points behind Senegal ahead of a return match in Dakar next Tuesday, with Burkina Faso hosting Cape Verde at the same time.

South Africa defeated Senegal 2-1 in Polokwane last November, but FIFA ordered a replay because of “match manipulation” by Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey, who was banned for life.

“It was not an easy game for us, but we took the chances that came our way,” said Mane, who returned to Premier League action last Saturday after a hamstring injury.

“Our coach stressed before the match the importance of qualifying for the World Cup and we gave everything throughout the match.

“We are going to represent all of Africa in Russia next year and will do our best to make everyone proud.”

Senegal are the third African qualifiers for the World Cup in Russia after Nigeria and Egypt, who secured places during the penultimate qualifying round last month.

The other two slots will be filled Saturday with north African countries Tunisia and Morocco needing draws to qualify.

Tunisia host out-of-contention Libya in Group A holding a three-point advantage over the Democratic Republic of Congo, who play Guinea in Kinshasa.

Morocco are one point in front of the Ivory Coast ahead of a showdown in Abidjan with the visitors hoping to end a 20-year absence from the World Cup.

South Africa goalkeeper and captain Itumeleng Khune played with a protective white mask after fracturing a facial bone in a club match last weekend.

Senegal took the lead after 12 minutes when Sakho raced on to a Mane pass and side-footed the ball to the right of onrushing Khune.

Stung by falling behind so early, South Africa sought an equaliser and came close midway through the opening half at Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Goalkeeper Khadim Ndiaye failed to grasp a fierce close-range Themba Zwane shot, but recovered to catch the rebound after the ball struck the onrushing Percy Tau.

South Africa came even closer soon after when Lebogang Manyama swept a low cross against the crossbar and Senegal hastily cleared the loose ball.

The Senegalese Teranga Lions doubled their lead after 38 minutes against the run of play with another goal involving Sakho and Mane.

Sakho broke clear and crossed to Mane, whose shot was blocked by Khune only for the clearance to hit Mkhize and trickled back into the net.

As half-time approached, Manyama went close again to scoring, this time from a free-kick that Ndiaye tipped over.

South Africa introduced midfielders Andile Jali and Siphiwe Tshabalala midway through the second half, but neither made an impact.

Published Date: Nov 11, 2017 10:41 am | Updated Date: Nov 11, 2017 12:44 pm

foxsports :

Senegal has qualified for the World Cup in Russia, seizing the second chance it was given by FIFA to beat South Africa 2-0 in a replay of a game it lost last year.

FIFA ordered the qualifier to be played again because of match-fixing by the referee in the initial match in November 2016. Senegal used the contentious replay on Friday to seal its place at the World Cup.

Sadio Mane was pivotal in both goals. He set up Diafra Sakho for the opener in the 12th minute and forced an own goal by South Africa defender Thamsanqa Mkhize in the 39th.
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Senegal joins Nigeria and Egypt as qualifiers from Africa, so far. The last two qualifiers from Africa will be decided on Saturday.

FIFA’s unprecedented decision to order a replay and give Senegal another chance after finding Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey guilty of match-fixing caused serious discontent among the other teams in Senegal’s group.

South Africa decried the decision to strip it of the victory last year as unfair while Burkina Faso, which was hoping for a first-ever appearance at the World Cup, appealed FIFA’s decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Polokwane: Senegal have seized a second chance to qualify for the World Cup, beating South Africa 2-0 in a replay of a game they first lost last year.

FIFA ordered the qualifier to be replayed because of match-fixing by the referee in the initial match in November 2016.

At the centre of the decision was a penalty against Senegal for a non-existent handball that helped South Africa win 2-1.

Senegal used Friday’s contentious replay at the same South African stadium in Polokwane to seal their place at the World Cup for the first time since 2002.
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Sadio Mane was pivotal in both goals. He set up Diafra Sakho for the opener in the 12th minute and forced an own goal by South Africa defender Thamsanqa Mkhize in the 39th.

“Thank you, South Africa,” he said. “It was not an easy game for us but we kept pushing.”

As Senegal’s qualification was confirmed at the final whistle, the Senegalese players huddled and bounced up and down in celebration.

Coach Aliou Cisse knelt and held his arms up.
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Cisse was captain of the Senegal team that made the quarterfinals of the World Cup in 2002, then only the second African team to get to the last eight.

That was the last and only time Senegal have made it to the World Cup.

Senegal join Nigeria and Egypt as qualifiers for the 2018 tournament from Africa, so far.

The last two qualifiers from Africa will be decided on Saturday. Either Tunisia or Congo and Morocco or Ivory Coast will make up the contingent in Russia.

Meanwhile, Nigeria couldn’t hold on in Constantine on Friday as hosts Algeria scored an 88th-minute equaliser for 1-1.

Without FIFA’s intervention, Senegal’s group would have gone down to the last qualifiers next week and all four teams would have still had a chance of qualifying.

Burkina Faso and Cape Verde are the other two sides, both of whom were searching for a first-ever appearance at the World Cup.

Completing South Africa’s misery, they created more chances in the replay but couldn’t make them count, hitting the crossbar in the first half and forcing a slew of saves from Senegal goalkeeper Khadim Ndiaye.

“All that talk doesn’t mean anything because they beat us 2-0 and they go to Russia,” South Africa coach Stuart Baxter said.