Senegal U-23 vs South Africa U-23 CAF U-23 African Nations Cup report
Posted: 28 November 2015 Time: 17:04
South Africa lost 3-1 to host nation Senegal in the opening match of the CAF U-23 African Nations Cup in Dakar, Senegal on Saturday.
South Africa started the game very brightly, pressing the Senegal players high up the pitch and attacking at pace, with Phakamani Mahlambi's electifying speed causing the Senegal defenders all sorts of problems.
Mahlamabi won an early free-kick that Keagan Dolly hit into the wall, he beat defenders for pace and set up the first chance for Siphelele Ntshangase whose shot was deflected, then nearly stole the ball off the Senegal goalkeeper.
But despite all their dominance, it took one mistake and Senegal took the lead. Kwanda Mngonyama was outstripped for pace by Ismaila Sarr and the defender brought him down, penatly. Ibrahima Keita stepped up and made no mistake to put the hosts ahead.
Then it went from bad to worse as Senegal went 2-0 up after barely 20 minutes played. Abbubaker Mobara received the ball deep in midfield and was too slow to turn, he was dispossessed, and with his defenders all caught out, Keita bagged his second with a cool finish.
But South Africa's heads didnt drop and Mahlambi picked up where he left off, leaving another Senegal defender for dead and winning a penalty kick in the 27th minute. Phumlani Ntshangase stepped up and buried it to pull a goal back, 2-1.
However, Owen da Gama's side continued to make life difficult for themselves as Mngonyama, Coetzee and Denwin Farmer's inability to shackle Ismaila Sarr and Ibrahima Keita became evident. The attacking pair was causing them real problems with their pace and strength. Goalkeeper Ricardo Goss was also guilty of a bad giveaway with a poor kick-out before having to save the resultant shot.
Then Coetzee had to be alert in the 35th minute to clear the ball off the line after Sarr outstripped Mngonyama for pace once again and chipped it over Goss. Senegal's attackers kept picking apart the gaps at the back and stretched the centre-backs by making runs off the shoulder.
The hosts went into the half-time break with a 2-1 lead.
South Africa looked hungry after the break as they came out in search of an equaliser with shots from Mahlambi and Siphelele Ntshangase. Mahlambi shot wide from range while Ntshangase's effort was blocked on the edge of the area.
Da Gama brought on Deolin Mekoa and Riyaad Norodien for Tshepo Rikhotso and Paseka Mako before the hour-mark to support Dolly, Ntshangase and Mahlambi in attack. Dumisani Zuma also joined the fray in the 77th minute.
But as the legs got heavier in the last 20 minutes, South Africa were unable to create any meaningful attacks as the game became laboured in the heat of Dakar. Neither side was able to retain possession for long enough periods and long-balls started being played.
Yet there was one more sting in the tail as Mngonyama's nightmare game was capped off with another goal conceded from his side. A simple throw-in was aimed at substitute Sidy Sarr, who held off the defender with his back to goal before taking one touch, turning and shooting into the bottom-left corner to give Senegal a two-goal cushion.
The result is fantastic for the host nation, who kick off their campaign with three points, while South Africa now have it all to do against Zambia and Tunisia.
Senegal U-23 XI: Pape Ndiaye (c), Ousseynou Thioune, Ibrahima Diedhiou (Pape Diaw 31'), Boubacar Cissokho, Samba Ndiaye, Ibrahima Keita (Moussa Seydi 68'), Ismaila Sarr, Adama Mbengue, Modou Diagne, Moussa Wague, Cheikhou Dieng (Sidy Sarr 63')
South Africa U-23 XI: Goss, Rikhotso (Mekoa 50'), Mngonyama (c), Coetzee, Farmer, Mobara, Dolly (vc), Ntshangase, Mako (Norodien 60'), Mahlambi, S Ntshangase (Zuma 77')