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'Nervous' qualification wait for Bafana after Nigeria draw

Bafana Bafana came into the clash with the Super Eagles under pressure to win and seal qualification for Africa’s showpiece event in Cameroon next year.

 Bafana Bafana members pictured ahead of their qualifying game against Nigeria on 17 November 2018 for the 2018 Africa Cup of Nations. Picture: @BafanaBafana/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana will have to wait until next year March to know their Africa Cup of Nations qualification fate after they claimed a 1-1 draw against Nigeria in their penultimate Group E qualifier at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Bafana Bafana came into the clash with the Super Eagles under pressure to win and seal qualification for Africa’s showpiece event in Cameroon next year.

At the beginning of the match, both sides were content to just knock the ball around and wait on the other to make a mistake. Buhle Mkhwanazi made the wrong move, as Samuel Kalu went on a rampaging run down the right flank and his intended cross deflected off Mkhwanazi. He beat Itumeleng Khune to give the Super Eagles the lead.

Credit must be given to Bafana, though, as they stuck to the task and were not despondent after conceding so early.

In times gone by the team would have easily gone to the half-time break at least three goals down, but they grabbed a fine equaliser 20 minutes after that Mkhwanazi’s blunder.

Percy Tau showed why Brighton and Hove Albion in the English Premier League spent a fortune on him when he showed great feet to evade the Nigerian defence before showing immaculate composure in the box to lay the ball off to Lebo Mothiba.

The second half was a dour affair, as the heat began to take its toll on the players and chances were few and far between. Nigeria had a great chance to grab a second goal but a free header at the far post was misdirected and went perilously wide from Khune’s goals.

The Super Eagles had another huge chance to bury the game but the linesman’s flag albeit late came to the rescue for Bafana. The result secures Nigeria a spot in Cameroon next year, while Bafana will have a nervous wait until March next year when they face Libya in their final Group E qualifier. South Africa remain second on the group behind Nigeria and even though Libya smashed the Seychelles 8-1 in the other group match. They, too, remain in third place on the group.

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