Baxter: It's a great day for South African football

South Africa's Itumeleng Khune celebrates his team's goal against Burkina Faso during the World Cup 2018 qualifier. Getty

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter hailed his team's 3-1 victory against Burkina Faso in their 2018 World Cup qualifier on Saturday as "a great day for South African football" and took a pot shot at the heavy criticism he endured after the double defeat by the Cape Verde Islands last month.

Although South Africa remain bottom of their World Cup qualifying group. However, they have two matches still to play, and if they beat Senegal home and away they'll qualify for next year's finals in Russia.

South Africa took a controversial 48-second lead through Percy Tau, followed by goals from Themba Zwane and Sibusiso Vilakazi which saw them 3-0 up at half-time at Soccer City, Johannesburg.

Alain Traore's stinging free kick pulled one back but it was too little too late for the Burkinabe.

"Sometimes when you score early in the game it can be a disadvantage because you've got so much adrenalin in your body, then you score and it all goes flat," said a delighted Baxter after the encounter.

"That was our first challenge to make sure the game did not go flat. I thought the players did a great job in terms of continuing to play and continuing to play smartly, but at the same time aggressively and trying to play in the final third as we had spoken about before the game.

"The first half saw some excellent football and we should have had a few more goals but we were delighted to be 3-0 up at half-time," he added.

South Africa had to play the last 23 minutes with 10-men after French-based midfielder Bongani Zungu was red carded for his part in a melee between the two teams.

"The sending off I think is horrible. There should have been a couple of red cards. The most guilty and most devious of the lot didn't get sent off. That was unfair.

"We needed character then to ride out the rest of the game and I thought the players did that very well.

"They knew where the dangers were going to come from. When they did get through, the captain (and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune) made a great save.

"I think it's an excellent day for South African football. I think it's timely after some of the over-the-top reports of the last two games but that's the game we are in. You don't let criticism go to your heart. You don't let victory go to your head. I'm very proud of the players," the coach said.

South Africa play their two Group D games against Senegal on November 10 and 14.