Ahead of the Libya – Nigeria Matchday 4 match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations’ encounter, minnows, Seychelles gave both teams life-line as sloppy South Africa were held to a goalless draw in Victoria on Tuesday.
A win by Nigeria will propel the Super Eagles to the top of the table and could possibly pick the ticket when they South Africa next month in South Africa.
Even, Libya is offered a helping hand as the prospects of qualifying is also alive. Bafana Bafana had trounced Seychelles 6-0 on at home on Saturday and while this time they were met with a very poor artificial surface, still created enough to have won the game comfortably.
Bafana remain unbeaten in the pool with eight points from their four matches, but instead of moving to within a single point of qualification for Cameroon, now face tough matches home against Nigeria and away to Libya to seal their place.
Coach Stuart Baxter is likely to be in the firing line after the result, but in truth his tactics were correct, it was simply the inability of his players to finish that cost South Africa the win.
The first real opening fell the way of Bafana on 12 minutes when Rama Mphahlele’s inviting cross was missed by Lebo Mothiba, while Dino Ndlovu could not get the right connection from point-blank range.
The visitors came closer when a flick from Ndlovu beat goalkeeper Jerome Dingwall, but Ronny Hoareau, who netted an own goal at the weekend, this time cleared off the line.
The first half was devoid of clear-cut opportunities, with Ndlovu firing wide from the edge of the box and also seeing a headed chance float harmlessly over.
Mothiba, so impressive on Saturday, should have put South Africa ahead just after halftime when Ndlovu steamed into the box and laid on the ball for the youngster, who hit the crossbar from two yards.
The Strasbourg striker then had another chance after being set-up by Ndlovu again, but this time shot weakly from just inside the box.
The visitors thought they had the lead when Percy Tau put the ball into the back of the net from Mothiba’s header, but the goal was rightly ruled out for offside.
Substitute Aubrey Modiba had a clear sight of goal when played in on goal by Tau, but his sliced shot went a yard wide as the frustration for the visitors continued.
Seychelles came more into the game in the second period and had a big chance to score when Perry Monnaie steamed towards the South African goal and as under-worked keeper Itumeleng came charging out, clipped the ball past him. It went wide.
Mothiba had another opportunity when Modiba found space in the box, but his cross was not turned home by the forward under pressure from the Seychelles defence.
Furman then forced a save from Dingwall and Mothiba glanced his header from the resultant corner wide.
Modiba then wasted a superb chance when Mphahlele’s perfect cross picked out the winger unmarked in the box, but he put his effort well wide.
There were further half-chances for the visitors, but they did not test Dingwall and Seychelles were able to grab a famous point.