SOWETO: Percy Tau starred for a much-changed and much-improved South Africa in a crucial 3-1 victory over Burkina Faso Saturday in a 2018 World Cup Africa zone qualifier in Soweto.
The diminutive winger scored the first goal after 48 seconds, played a role in the second, and created the third with a cheeky back-heel at Soccer City stadium.
South Africa won with a team showing eight changes from that which suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat by Cape Verde in Durban last month.
Back-to-back losses to Cape Verde and the annulling of a win against Senegal over match manipulation by a Ghanaian referee left South Africa desperate for maximum points.
Despite the win, South Africa remain bottom of Group D and needing home and away victories over Senegal in November to have a chance of winning the group and qualifying.
Burkina Faso and Cape Verde have six points, Senegal five and South Africa four ahead of a match between the Cape Verdeans and Senegalese in Praia later Saturday.
A Tau header gave South Africa the perfect start and he later avoided going offside, allowing Themba Zwane to score, before Sibusiso Vilakazi made it 3-0 in first-half stoppage time.
Surprisingly, subdued Burkina Faso could have been five goals behind before Alain Traore scored a consolation goal direct from a free-kick on 87 minutes.