Jonty Mark
Football Editor
2 minute read
7 Oct 2017
11:51 pm

Bafana Bafana bounce back in style

Jonty Mark

Bafana Bafana kept their World Cup 2018 dream alive on Saturday with an excellent display in a 3-1 Group D victory over Burkina Faso at FNB Stadium.

Percy Tau of South Africa (r) celebrates goal with Themba Zwane during the 2018 World Cup qualifier football match between South Africa and Burkina Faso at Soccer City. (Gavin Barker/BackpagePix)

Stuart Baxter’s side still need to beat Senegal home-and-away next month and hope other results go their way, if they are to top the group and make it to Russia, but some hope has been restored after the two defeats to Cape Verde in September.

In front of a poor attendance at FNB Stadium, it took just 48 seconds for Bafana to take the lead. A Sifiso Hlanti long throw was flicked goalwards by Percy Tau, and bounced off a post, with Stallions goalkeeper Herve Koffi palming the ball away. Cameroonian referee Alioum Alioum, however, ruled that the ball had crossed the line, giving Bafana the perfect start.

Burkina Faso kept the ball for long periods after going behind, without really posing much of a threat to Bafana’s goal, though Cyrille Bayala did get plenty of space down the left wing, and Bertrand Traore showed off a few neat tricks on the other flank.

All the penetration came from Bafana, and they doubled their lead in the 34th minute. Itulemeng Khune’s brilliant clearance found the feet of the superb Andile Jali, and his flick over the top sent Themba Zwane sprinting clear. The offside flag stayed down and Zwane kept his cool to beat Koffi.

It got even better for Bafana in first half stoppage time, as another excellent Khune clearance landed at the feet of Tau. His brilliant back-heel pass put in Sibusiso Vilakazi and he slotted home.

Bafana might have added to their lead after the break, with Zwane wasting a great chance after another fine pass from Tau.

Khune then made saves from Alain Traore and Bertrand Traore before Bafana midfielder Bongani Zungu was given his marching orders for violent conduct after a mass brawl erupted in the middle of the field. The referee appeared to miss, however, a clear elbow to the face on Zungu from Alain Traore.

Burkina Faso’s Bakary Kone was also lucky not to receive a red card when he hauled down Tau as he raced through on goal, Alioum strangely only showing a yellow card to the Stallions defender.

Alain Traore did pull a goal back for Burkina Faso in the 87th minute, curling a terrific free kick past a motionless Khune.

The victory leaves Bafana with four points from four matches, while Burkina Faso have six points from five games. Cape Verde hosted Senegal in a Group D clash later on Saturday.