Mbodji grabs late winner to sink South Africa
Kara Mbodji scored an injury-time winner as Senegal sealed a 2-1 victory over South Africa in Dakar to make absolutely sure of their place at the World Cup on Tuesday.
Amid talk of appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport by the Burkina Faso association over the disputed decision by FIFA to annul Senegal's 2-1 loss to Bafana Bafana last November, the Teranga Lions made the outcome academic with a last-gasp home win in their final qualifier.
They top the pool with 14 points from their six matches, ahead of Burkina Faso (nine points), Cape Verde (six) and South Africa (four).
Over in Ouagadougou, the Stallions ended their qualifying campaign in style as Prejuce Nakoulma scored a hat-trick and Banou Diawara added a late goal in a 4-0 victory over Cape Verde.
Senegal rode their luck at times on Tuesday, but came away with the win as Opa Nguette put them ahead and Mbodji grabbed what proved the winner with virtually the last kick of the game.
Bafana missed a penalty through Themba Zwane, but looked to have salvaged a point via a Percy Tau goal midway through the second period.
The defeat was perhaps harsh on the visitors, who had their chances to get more from the game.
Defender Morgan Gould spooned the ball over the top from 10 yards when he should have hit the target, while Sibusiso Vilakazi shot straight at the keeper when a yard either side would have put Bafana in front.
Sifiso Hlanti then flashed a 35-yard free-kick wide as the best of the chances in the opening period fell the way of the visitors.
However, goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was punished for a poor moment of judgement 10 minutes into the second period when he mistimed a cross and Nguette turned the ball home for his first international goal.
Bafana might have equalised when they were handed a penalty on 63 minutes, but Zwane flashed his spot-kick wide to add frustration for the visitors.
They did manage an equaliser two minutes later though when Tau provided a composed finish with a low drive.
Bafana kept pushing for the winner, but were almost behind again when Alfred N'Diaye saw his shot smash onto the underside of the crossbar.
The visitors had a few half-chances in the closing minutes, but it was Senegal who found the goal as Mbodji headed home to start the World Cup party in Dakar.