Algeria dented South Africa’s chances of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics with a 2-0 semi-final victory at the CAF U23 Africa Cup of Nations in Dakar, Senegal on Wednesday.
With Nigeria having confirmed the first spot at the Rio Olympics following a 1-0 win over hosts Senegal in the first semi-final, Owen da Gama’s charges will now meet the tournament hosts for the final slot on Saturday to determine who joins Algeria and Nigeria on the South American adventure next year.
It was not vintage South Africa on Wednesday and the 2-0 scoreline told the entire story. They were beaten by a well organised Algeria side.
The North Africans were out of the blocks early and caused South Africa problems as early as the first minute but Da Gama’s boys didn’t take notice of the early warning.
It came as no surprise when Algeria took a ninth-minute lead through Oussamma Darfalou, who lobbed over 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 were all over South Africa and in the 16th minute, again forced February to make a fine save as they searched for the second goal.
The South Africans had their first chance after 19 minutes when Gift Motupa was 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 Mohammed Benkhemassa collected a loose ball from a corner kick and rifled home an unstoppable shot past the diving February for a 2-0 advantage after 50 minutes.
Deolin Mekoa could have done better in the 62nd minute after a good cross by Abbubaker Mobara but failed to connect when the keeper was well beaten.
The miss summed up South Africa’s disappointing evening and will now hope to pick themselves up for the match against wounded Senegal.