IT’S all to play for in Group C and a result for either side in Friday night’s showdown could prove decisive in the race to reach the quarter-finals. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) looks for the best bet.
South Africa v Senegal | Friday 19.00 | Eurosport
Friday night’s contest between South Africa and Senegal could prove pivotal and decisive as the ‘Group of Death’ hots up in Mongomo.
South Africa suffered their first defeat under Shakes Mashaba when going down 3-1 against Algeria. But the result didn’t tell the whole story as Bafana Bafana had the highly-rated Desert Foxes on the rails.
Having taken the lead and hit the post, Tokelo Rantie missed a crucial penalty and the game turned on its head. Algeria smelt blood and hit back with three unanswered goals. Disappointingly from a South African perspective, two of those three goals came from uncharacteristic errors but they played with energy and intelligence as the new-look side continue to make progress.
Mashaba’s brought through younger, hungrier talent and discarded the old heads and under-performing big names from previous regimes. They’ll be hit by the absence of defender Rivaldo Coetzee but they welcome back centre-back Eric Mathoho to aid their cause.
Opponents Senegal have also seen their fortunes turn on the appointment of a manager. Alain Giresse was given the role of rebuilding the team in January 2013 and has turned the Lions of Teranga into a well-drilled, difficult to beat, defensively dogged and effective unit.
Giresse’s men have W11-D9-L4 under his reign and protected by three defensively-minded midfielders. Despite their dogged nature, they looked far from impenetrable against Ghana and that should encourage a Bafana side that needs a result to keep their last eight hopes alive.
Nine of the 12 games at the tournament have already seen Both Teams To Score winners and I’m happy to invest in that being the case again in Mongomo with William Hill offering 11/10.
Senegal have scored in all bar two of their last 17 outings and have kept no clean sheets in their last 12 Nations Cup matches. As for Bafana, they’ve netted in eight of their last 10 and that includes scoring against Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Algeria.
South Africa v Senegal – Both Teams To Score (11/10 William Hill)