SA’s World Cup hopes were dealt a big blow with defeat in Praia on Friday night, but a goalless draw in Saturday’s other Group D match, between Senegal and Burkina Faso, is a result from which Bafana Bafana supporters can take heart.
Although Senegal started the latest round of fixtures one point behind Burkina Faso and SA in the standings‚ they were the fancied team in the group, with an impressive squad of players from clubs in the English Premier League‚ Italy’s Serie A and in France’s top flight.
They were heavily fancied at home against Burkina Faso, but were held to a draw in the best possible result for SA.
The two teams meet again in the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou‚ on Tuesday, kicking off about 90 minutes after SA begin their bid for rehabilitation at home to the Cape Verdians at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Senegal‚ who had Sadio Mane back in attack‚ missed a succession of chances in the game as Burkina Faso put up a stout defensive blocking‚ looking for the away point.
But they also had their chances with Alain Traore coming close‚ prompting Senegal to make two half-time changes.
Any advantage the entrée of Diao Balde Keita (just signed by French champions Monaco) and Pape Alioune Ndiaye (based at Turkish giants Galatasaray) could have supplied was negated when defender Kalidou Koulibaly was sent off 10 minutes into the second half.
Koulibaly, who plays at Napoli, Italy, is rated as one of the best defenders in world football.