Lucky escape



October 10, 2016
Lucky escape

HERO: Khune saved the day

Itu stars as Bafana survive two penalties to claim qualifier draw.

Bafana Bafana survived two penalties as they snatched a point from Burkina Faso in their opening World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

Somehow South Africa were 10 minutes away from coming home with all three points.

But it wasn’t to be, as Dean Furman’s 80th-minute goal was cancelled out with a last-gasp strike for the Stallions in Ouagadougou.

The result leaves Shakes Mashaba’s manne in third place in Group D behind their opponents and Senegal top the pool after a 2-0 victory over Cape Verde.

Bafana played with purpose with the recalled Eleazar Ridgers leading the line.

But the visitors only got into the game after an early barrage from Burkina Faso, who had a real go at South Africa.

Mashaba can be grateful to goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune for being in top form for this match.

We lost count of how many times he denied the Stallions’ hitmen in front of goal. And he saved from Jonathan Pitropia’s spotkick, before psyching out Alain Traore ahead of his late penalty.

Prejuce Nakoulma toyed with Eric Mathoho at the back, but could not score.

The Traore brothers – Alain and Bertrand – at times proved too much for Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Thabo Matlaba, who were playing as right and left-back respectively for Bafana.

When they were beaten, Khune was on hand to prove just why he remains the country’s No.1.

He was close to keeping a 40th clean sheet in his 80th appearance for the national team, but was eventually beaten by Banou Diawara with the game all but over to cancel out Furman’s strike 10 minutes earlier.

Bafana, though, had their chances too.

Rodgers harried and unsettled the Burkinabe with his non-stop running and physical menace.

Had the Cape-born Wits striker made better contact with his second-half header from a right-sided attack, Bafana would have had the lead. 

But it was the panic Rodgers caused in the Stallions box that saw Furman fire through a crowded box that gave Bafana a sniff. SA’s jittery defence was finally punished by Diawara to deny Bafana the three points.

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