2018 World Cup Qualifying - CAF, Round Three
  • Nuno Rocha (33', 38' PEN)
  • Tokelo Rantie (14')
  • Eric Mathoho (68')

Cape Verde sink sloppy 10-man Bafana

Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Cape Verde ended their recent poor run with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over a poor South Africa in their World Cup qualifier in Praia on Friday night.

Bafana Bafana had taken an early lead through striker Tokelo Rantie, but two goals in four first-half minutes from Nuno Rocha turned the game on its head.

The South Africans finished the game with 10 men when Erick Mathoho was red-carded mid-way through the second half as they produced little of substance on the artificial pitch in Praia.

South Africa remain level with Burkina Faso on four points at the top of the table, but have played a game more than the Burkinabe and Senegal, who have three points.

By contrast, Cape Verde have broken their duck and are now back in contention for a place in Russia 2018.

Bafana were living off scraps of possession early on, but took the lead on 14 minutes with a great piece of counter-attacking football.

The ball broke to left-back Tebogo Langerman and his defence-splitting ball set Rantie free. With two much pace for the lumbering Cape Verde defenders, Rantie raced clear and provided a cool low finish for his 12th international goal.

Neither side had a shot on goal until Cape Verde equalised just past the half-hour mark through Rocha.

It was a poor goal for the visitors to concede as they first allowed the lively Tiago Almeida too much space on the right and his low cross was not dealt with by the defence.

It eventually fell to Rocha and his shot deflected past Ronwen Williams in the Bafana Bafana goal.

That lifted the home side and they found an extra gear, with star man Ryan Mendes winning a clear penalty when his mazy run was brought to a halt in the box by Dean Furman's outstretched leg.

Rocha stepped up to take the spot-kick and found the back of the net despite Williams getting a good hand to the ball.

The South Africans were almost further behind before halftime when Williams inexplicably dropped an easy take from a free-kick, but none of the three Cape Verdean players in the box could capitalise as they went into the break 2-1 ahead.

The visitors dominated the opening 20 minutes of the second half, but were reduced to 10 men after a petulant kick from Mathoho earned him a straight red card. He could have few complaints.

Mathoho had been missed his clearance for the first Cape Verde goal and was skinned by Mendes in the build-up to the penalty, so his red card capped a particularly poor night.

Mathoho had also received red in his last club game for Kaizer Chiefs, making it two in two for him. Julio Tavares got behind the South African defence shortly afterwards, but this time Williams came up with the save.

Substitute Percy Tau fluffed two fine headed chances, putting the first wide and the second over the bar when well-placed as South Africa pushed for an equaliser that never came.

The teams will meet again in Durban on Tuesday.