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Bafana Bafana AFCON hopes crushed by efficient Sudanese side in Omdurman, Ghana win to stay group leaders

Sudan utilized their home advantage to stun South Africa and qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations at Bafana Bafana’s expense, winning 2-0 on Sunday to clinch second place in Group C. Saifeldin Bakhit of Al-Merrikh and Al-Hilal Omdurman’s Mohamed Abdel Raman provided the goals for the hosts in the first half as it took South Africa far too long to find their focus in a huge match. With Ghana’s 3-1 defeat of São Tomé and Príncipe, the Black Stars and Sudan are the teams to advance from Group C.

A shell-shocked Bafana Bafana side had to contend with an early deficit from the start when Athar El Tahir’s free-kick was headed in by Bakhit in the fifth minute. South Africa nearly responded quickly but Sudanese right-back Samawal Merghani did brilliantly to clear a cross while covering an open goal.

Direct attacks were the way Sudan found success as South Africa failed to capitalize on opportunities and having the majority of the ball. Bafana Bafana’s defense was exposed and conceded a devastating second when play opened up in the 31st minute. Mohamed Abdel Raman was allowed to dribble into the South African penalty area with little bother and used sublime 1v1 moves to create space and put his effort into the roof of the net. South Africa scrambled to get back into the game and save their qualification hopes but the damage was done. The Sudanese did well to manage the game and hold out to be the team celebrating at the end.

Ghana sealed their spot as group winners with a routine 3-1 victory over minnows São Tomé and Príncipe. The visitors showed a bit of promise early on but poor organization on defense popped up again to be the undoing of the Lusophone nation. Nicholas Opoku headed the Black Stars ahead early from a Mohamed Kudus corner-kick before a clumsy challenge in the São Tomé penalty area allowed Ghana captain André Ayew to add to the lead with a penalty kick. Left-back Baba Rahman scored the third for Ghana in the 60th minute to cap an effortless display.

Highlights from both matches are below.

Sudan 2-0 South Africa (for USA/Canada readers)

Sudan 2-0 South Africa (for international readers)

Ghana 3-1 São Tomé and Príncipe

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