Friday 10 November 2017, 18:58

Senegal book World Cup ticket

  • Senegal book Russia 2018 spot with 2-0 win over South Africa

  • Lions of Teranga reach their first global finals since 2002

  • Coach Aliou Cisse was part of the side who impressed at Korea/Japan tournament

Senegal sealed a return to the FIFA World Cup™ for the first time since their 2002 debut thanks to a 2-0 win over South Africa in World Cup qualifying African Group D.

Diafra Sakho scored the opener for the visitors in Polokwane, before a somewhat fortuitous Thamsanqa Mkhize own goal sealed the three points for the Lions of Teranga. The visitors are now five points ahead of nearest Group D challengers Burkina Faso with one game remaining.

Senegal stunned the world by beating World Cup holders France in their first ever game at the global finals in 2002, and if they are to produce performances to match that at Russia 2018, it is likely that Liverpool's Sadio Mane will be the catalyst.

Unsurprisingly, Mane was integral to the victory that booked their World Cup return, with a wonderfully incisive through ball teeing up Sakho for the opener, while he was involved in the tangle of bodies that led to the second.

2010 World Cup hosts South Africa played their part - and even dominated possession for spells - in a lively match, with Lebogang Manyama hitting the crossbar, but the second goal just before half-time knocked the wind out of their sails.

Head coach Aliou Cisse was the Senegalese captain during their 2002 debut, which saw them follow up that remarkable opening win against France to reach the quarter-finals. The former midfielder will be hoping he can inspire them to achieve similarly superlative heights next year in Russia.