2022 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier
Result: Sudan 2-0 South Africa
Date: 28 March 2021
Venue: Al Hilal Stadium
Bafana Bafana have failed to qualify for next year's Africa Cup of Nations after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Sudan in their final Group C qualifier.
Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki made four changes to his starting line-up from the 1-1 draw with Ghana. Lebohang Maboe, Ben Motshwari, Thabang Monare and Luther Singh came into the side, while Rivaldo Coetzee, Sifiso Hlanti, Ruzaigh Gamildien and Andile Jali made way.
The hosts opened the scoring with just five minutes gone when Malik Bakhit headed home from a free-kick delivered from the left-hand side.
Percy Tau had a great chance to equalise, but a superb last-ditch tackle saw the ball taken off him with the goal seemingly at his mercy from point blank range, while Thulani Hlatshwayo saw his header crash against the crossbar moments later.
It went from bad to worse for Bafana when they went 2-0 down in the 32nd minute after Abdelrahman Yousif was played through on goal, skipped past Hlatshwayo and slotted the ball past Ronwen Williams.
It was a sluggish performance from Bafana in the first half while the Desert Hawks looked extremely dangerous on the break and could have scored more.
Ten minutes into the second half, Thapelo Morena delivered from the right-hand side to the back post for Motshwari, who brought the ball down well but took too long to get his shot away and the danger dissipated.
Ntseki then opted for a triple substitution and brought on Hlanti for Tau, Lyle Foster on for Singh and Gamildien on for Maboe on the hour mark to try and shake things up.
Abdel Rahman almost grabbed his brace when his headed flick went narrowly wide from a corner before he went close again when he curled an effort just wide of Williams' left-hand post.
Some excellent one-touch passing and off-the-ball movement saw Bafana come the closest they had to scoring in the 74th minute when several crisp passes saw Themba Zwane play the final pass for an unmarked Morena, who should have scored, but his effort was saved by the legs of Sudan goalkeeper Ali Abdallah Abu-Eshrein.
In the end, the two first-half goal were enought for Sudan to secure their place in the continental showpiece for the first time in nine years while Bafana end the qualifying campaign in third spot.
Here's how they started:
Bafana: Williams, Hlatshwayo, Maela, Xulu, Monare, Motshwari, Morena, Zwane, Maboe, Singh, Tau
Subs: Khune, Hlanti, Martin, Kutumela, Phete, Mbule, Gamildien, Nodada, Mvala, Lebusa, Pule, Foster
Click through the gallery below to see where Tau ranks among Bafana's top scorers: