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Muhsin Ertuğral: How Bafana Bafana Got It Right Against Senegal

Muhsin Ertuğral: How Bafana Bafana got it right against Senegal

The most important thing in World Cup Qualifiers is to win your home games, and to try to get points away.

It doesn’t matter in today’s game how and why, what is important are the 3 points.

Both teams started very cautious and had a tight defensive approach. South Africa played a lop sided game gave Mpho Makola’s freedom when on the ball to move inside and create numbers in front of the Senegalese defensive lines.

İt brought obvious challenges when the ball was lost, but Shakes Mashaba placed a very strong and clever defender behind him on the right side. Thulani Hlatshwayo had to deal with 2 players against him periodically, and he found the solution of when to commit and when to stay away and close the line.

Midfield was solid for around 60 minutes and Andile Jali marshalled it defensively as well as offensively, he was very clever when doing so. Mostly of Senegal’s attacking pattern was over the left side of South Africa and they scored in the moment where the organisation was completely lost, especially when Thabo Matlaba needed to go against the ball. Unfortunately he went into the goal and allowed the Senegalese to have a free shot.

POLOKWANE, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 12: Thuani Seraro of South Africa and Saliou Ciss of Senegal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between South Africa and Senegal at Peter Mokaba Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Polokwane, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

In my opinion, the offensive wingers could have done some better counter attacks, especially in the second half. Senegal had no shape and could have been punished with better counter attacks. It was very visible in these type of game situations that you need a target striker that can hold on to the ball so that the wingers can come to join from the defensive phase of the game.

İ think Mashaba needs to be congratulated as he has found under the difficult circumstances, a team that plays in harmony and in a pattern that works to their needs. İf the defensive organisation, and especially left side of the defensive phases of the game can be sorted out , South Africa has a great chance to qualify.

There is time to prepare for the next away game against Cape Verde, winning or at least a point would start a real possibility to be in Russia 2018.

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