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Sadio Mane was an integral part of Senegal’s qualification for World Cup next summer, their first finals since the Japan/South Korea tournament 15 years ago.
The Liverpool star was in excellent form as Senegal defeated South Africa 2-0 on Friday to emerge as a World Cup finalists for the first time since 2002.
South Africa was well aware they had to strive hard to win their last two games to have any chance of having a place in Russia, but defeat in Polokwane ends their slim hopes of qualification.
West Ham striker Diafra Sakho, who is pushing for a move away from the east London club, placed Senegal ahead of their opposition 12 minutes into the game, racing on to a Mane pass to beat Itumeleng Khune with a smart finish.
And Mane was again involved as Senegal doubled their lead before half-time, Khune saving his team from the Liverpool forward but seeing unlucky defender Thamsanqa Mkhize turn the rebound into his own goal.
Senegal, who made it to the quarter-finals on their last World Cup appearance, now lead the Group D five points ahead of all contention, having had an unbeaten run in their five games, while Bafana Bafana is bottom, having registered just one win in five games.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 10, 2017
Nigeria and Egypt are the other two African nations to have qualified for the 2018 World Cup, with the draw set to take place on December 1.