SA go down to Algeria and must now beat Senegal to book Rio berth | SASCOC - SASCOC

SA go down to Algeria and must now beat Senegal to book Rio berth

South African team line up during the U23 African Cup of Nations match between South Africa and Algeria on 09th December 2015 at Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor in Dakar ©/BackpagePix

South Africa’s Under-23 men’s football side had a hiccup in their bid to be part of Team South Africa at next year’s Olympics as they lost their semi-final to Algeria at the AFCON tournament in Senegal on Wednesday.
Needing to finish among the top three sides at this tournament, they went down 2-0 to a superior Algeria side in Dakar.
This means that Owen da Gama’s men now have one final shot at glory when they take on Senegal in the third-fourth place play-off on Saturday.
Nigeria confirmed the first spot at the Rio Olympics after they beat the hosts 1-0 in the first semi-final.
So it doesn’t get any easier as apart from facing Senegal on their home turf on Saturday the South Africans do so knowing that they lost 3-1 to the Senegalese in their opening fixture of the tournament.
South African can have few excuses though as Algeria were in a different class, causing problems from the first minute.
It was not vintage South Africa on Wednesday and the 2-0 scoreline told the entire story. They were well beaten by a well organised Algeria side.
Two excellent goals sealed their fate. Algeria took an early lead in the ninth minute through Oussamma Darfalou who hit a classy lob over  ‘keeper Jody February when the swift Algerians caught the South Africans backline flat-footed. From there on, Owen da Gama’s side were always going to chase the game.
After the goal, the North Africans swarmed all over South Africa and in the 16th minute, again forced February to make a fine save as they searched for the second goal.
In the 19th minute, Gift Motupa could have squared matters after being set up by Riyaad Norodien but blazed his effort over the bar with only the keeper to beat.
It was Algeria who again showed more purpose in the second half and it came as no surprise when Benkhemassa collected a loose ball from a corner kick and rifled home an unstoppable shot past the diving February to give the North Africans a 2-0 lead five minutes into the half.
Deolin Mekoa could have pulled things back in the 62nd minute after a good cross by Abbubakar Mobara but failed to connect when the keeper was well beaten.
That miss summed up South Africa’s disappointing evening and they’ll will now hope to pick themselves up for the all-important match against wounded Senegal.

Picture of the SA side lining up on Wednesday night courtesy of Backpagepix

Robyn Hillebrand
Robyn Hillebrand

The U23 team is not a serious medal contender so keeping with Sascoc policy they should not g to Rio. This was their take on the men's and womens hockey team.