DEFENSIVE errors and poor finishing were again the undoing of the Brave Warriors against Senegal as they went down 3-1 in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The result, coupled with Togo surprising hosts Congo Brazzaville 2-1 in the other group H contest, sealed Senegal’s place in the third and final stage of qualifying, with two games to spare.
Togo rose from last to second, eight points adrift of two-time World Cup qualifiers Senegal.
Namibia are second on four points, and Congo anchor the group with two.
Namibia were punished for their sloppiness at either end during the entertaining qualifier at Orlando Stadium, head coach Bobby Samaria says.
Famara Diedhiou capitalised on three defensive lapses to score a hat-trick for Senegal’s Teranga Lions, with Peter Shalulile grabbing the hosts’ consolation.
The scores were tied 1-1 at the break before Senegal’s superiority, again sparked by Liverpool ace Sadio Mane, told.
“We were punished three times. The two headers were from lousy marking. But we created chances off our own. All in all, the end result is not a true reflection of the match, but they deserved to win because they took their chances,” Samaria says.
The Brave Warriors can certainly be proud of their effort.
They gave as good as they got against the West Africans, who are ranked the number one side on the continent, and fielded a strong selection.
“. . . hats off to my players, I think they left everything on that pitch. Those guys [Senegal], when they go back, will know that they played against a team that was very determined. They put in a shift,” Samaria says.
“Indeed it was a very tough match up against the number-one ranked team in Africa. So, we knew the going would be tough. But I take solace from the fact that we started this match the same way we ended the match in Thies.”
Senegal’s opening goal on 21 minutes was all too easy from a Namibia point of view.
No one closed down Mane on the left flank and he picked out an unmarked Diedhiou just outside the six-yard box, who easily headed into the back of the net.
But Namibia were level just before the half-hour mark with a typically clinical finish from Shalulile.
He collected the ball on the edge of the box, sidestepped a defender, and drilled low into the bottom corner of the net, giving Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy no chance.
Soon after, Willy Stephanus forced an excellent save from Chelsea’s first choice Mendy near the close of the first half as his fierce free-kick from 35-yards looked to be arrowing into the net, but the teams went into the break all square.
Senegal went 2-1 up on 51 minutes, as Saliou Ciss delivered a cross from the left wing, and Diedhiou netted his second header as the Namibia defence failed to challenge him in the air.
Namibia could have levelled through midfielder Wesley Katjiteo whose powerful header crashed off the crossbar and out of bounds on the hour mark.
But instead Diedhiou completed his hat-trick with six minutes remaining when he met Mane’s low cross at the back post for the simplest of tap-ins.
Senegal can now rest players in their final two qualification matches in November if they choose, though coach Aliou Cisse may wish to have his full squad together to build towards the Africa Cup of Nations that will be played in Cameroon from early January.
The Brave Warriors’ next travel away to face Congo-Brazzaville in their penultimate qualifier next month, before a home clash against Togo to complete the campaign.
“We still have two games to play. So, it’s for us to make sure we get good results there and end second in the group,” Samaria says.
Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/202110140198.html
Author : Namibian
Publish date : 2021-10-14 08:26:44