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Bafana Bafana’s 2018 World Cup dream turns into a nightmare

WRANGLE: South Africa’s Tokelo Rantie, right, vies with Cape Verde’s Tiago Almeida during the teams’ 2018 World Cup qualifier at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Tuesday.

In the space of five days, two matches against Cape Verde that could have qualified Bafana Bafana for the World Cup have been lost – the second 2-1 at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Tuesday night.

South Africa’s Russia 2018 dream now lies in tatters.

Garry Rodrigues scored two scorchers from a 52nd-minute free-kick and a 67th-minute drive. But the goals were also a result of Bafana giving Cape Verde room to play.

Andile Jali’s low goal in the 89th minute was a mere consolation.

Mistakes early in a coach’s tenure, such as some strange lineup decisions in Friday’s 2-1, 10-man Bafana defeat in Praia, might be understandable in one game, even a crucial World Cup qualifier.

That result put Bafana under pressure and spoilt a chance for South Africa to take control.

Coach Stuart Baxter’s starting XI on Tuesday nightraised more questions, with South Africa now almost certainly out of the running for a place at Russia 2018.

A lineup that retained Dean Furman and placed him alongside Hlompho Kekana in a two-man defensive midfield seemed far too conservative a layout for the situation.

South Africa were far too loosely arranged to keep Cape Verde’s dangerous runners in control while launching attacks off a solid platform. It was a mess.

In the first half Bafana were overly cautious and could not reach the tempo needed to create the chances they required.

As long as South Africa allowed Cape Verde half-chances, it would cost the home team at some stage.

Rodrigues’ free-kick was a belter that Wayne Sandilands could not stop.

Rodrigues produced a second stunner and Bafana’s Russia 2018 dream – barring a miracle – slipped away before their eyes.

Jali’s strike from a corner was too little, too late. 

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