Cape Verde/South Africa: Blue Sharks Bounce Back to Beat Bafana

Photo: Safa

Bafana Players after loss to Cameroon

Cape Verde came back from behind to register their first win in Group D of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia qualifiers beating South Africa 2-1 at the National Stadium in Praia.

An early goal by Tokelo Rantie was cancelled out by Nuno Rocha who also got the winner as the Blue Sharks stunned their more fancied opponents.

The Islanders’ first win over Bafana Bafana comes at a crucial stage where they are rooted at the bottom of the group after losses to Senegal and Burkina Faso.

A cautious opening from both sides with the hosts looking disjointed in defence gave the visitors a lot of confidence going forward.

Bafana survived a scare as early as the sixth minute when a feeble pass by Tebogo Langerman to Ronwen Williams put the keeper under unnecessary pressure who did well to clear before Jiago Almeida could get to the ball.

The lanky forward was a menace in the Bafana defense with his quick off the ball movement and burst of pace down the right flank.

However, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock after Rantie’s brilliant solo run from the middle concluded with a sublime finish in the 13th minute.

The visitors’ lead was however cancelled out in the 33rd minute after a good interchange of passes from the Blue Sharks saw a low shot by Rocha deflected into the net by Bongani Zungu to level matters.

The goal spurred the Blue Sharks forward who piled more pressure onto South Africa with Almeida and Ryan Mendes looking dangerous going forward.

Heading into the final stages of the opening half, the visitors were put on the back foot and eventually broke as the troublesome Mendes was fouled in the box by Dean Furman after doing well to cut in and minus a few defenders.

Rocha then stepped up and made no mistake in putting his side ahead before the break.

Things took a turn for the worst for the South Africans coming into the second half after a reckless foul by Kaizer Chiefs defender, Erick Mathoho resulted in his sending off, leaving his side with a predicament of attacking with a man short at the back.

Bafana coach Stuart Baxter brought on the pacey Percy Tau who had two half chances with his header from delightful balls by former teammate Ramahlwe Mphahlele but both efforts were off target.

The two sides meet in the return leg on Tuesday, 5 September at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

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