KUMASI Ghana (ColoradoRapids.com) - Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul got his first international start yesterday but despite his multiple spectacular saves Senegal's efforts were not enough and Bouna's native country was eliminated from the African Nations Cup after a 1-1 draw against South Africa in their last Group D match in Kumasi Ghana.
Senegal needed a win coupled with anything but a draw in the Angola-Tunisia match to advance to the ANC quarterfinals.
Bouna was the only player representing Major League Soccer in the entire tournament.
(To view video highlights of Bouna in action from this match courtesy of YouTube.com click here.)
After not playing in Senegal's first two matches of the tournament Bouna saw his dream come true as he stepped into the starting role after goalkeeper Tony Sylva who had played in the first two games was suspended for the final and decisive match.
Elrio van Heerden opened the scoring for South Africa inside the first quarter of an hour finishing off a swift passing move and poking home the first goal of the match after being left criminally unmarked at the back post.
Coundoul made his first tough save of the match in the 23rd minute when he dove to his right to smother a shot from Sibusiso Zuma as it headed towards the near corner.
Henri Camara equalized for Senegal eight minutes before halftime after a defensive slip by South Africa captain Aaron Mokoena allowed him through on goal.
In the 62nd minute Coundoul kept the game equal with an amazing right-handed reflex save again denying Zuma but this time from just 12 yards away.
Coundoul was up to the challenge again in the 78th minute when he spectacularly dove to his left to tip another Zuma shot that was headed for the back of the net instead out for a corner kick and keep Senegal in the match.
Despite Bouna's stellar play between the pipes on Thursday it wasn't enough the match ended drawn at 1-1 and Senegal found their hopes of advancing to the next round in Africa's biggest sporting event dashed.
Coundoul will now travel back to Colorado to join his Rapids teammates for preseason training before Colorado begin their season at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on March 29.