It was a magical, special night for Diafra Sakho and his nation of Senegal, as the West Ham United forward’s early goal helped propel the Lions of Teranga back to the World Cup with a 2-0 win over Group D rivals South Africa.
Sakho, who had been back into the fold for his country’s national side just last month, provided a quality run for Liverpool star Saido Mane to perfectly deliver a pass right into his path. The Hammers striker calmly put Mane’s assist into the back of the net in the 12th minute.
Diafra Sakho puts Senegal 1-0 up against South Africa pic.twitter.com/QxOhHbB2lm— West Ham Transfers (@westhamtransfer) November 10, 2017
It turned out to be the winning goal for Senegal, as they shut out the Bafana Bafana on the road to return to the World Cup. It is only the Lions second time ever at the global final tournament, with of course their magical quarterfinals run in Korea/Japan 2002 as their lone appearance thus far. Only fitting that their manager Aliou Cisse was the captain of that historic team back then.
Meanwhile with the other Hammer involved in a significant World Cup qualifying match, New Zealand captain Winston Reid put on another display of valiant, steady defending for his nation, as the Kiwis and Peru finished 0-0 in a scrappy, mostly boring first leg draw.
Reid was helped by Peru not having their talisman Pablo Guerrero due to his suspension for testing positive for a performance enhancing drug. Still, it was the type of display from Reid that no all Whites fan will ever takes for granted. Now both sides are on the long, long flight to Lima, Peru for the dramatic second leg to see who will secure the final berth for next summer’s World Cup.