Banyana look­ing for ‘legs’

The Star Late Edition - - SPORT - MO­HAU RAMASHIDJA

South Africa (1) 3 Smeda 28, Esau 67, Kgat­lana 73 Le­sotho 0

TO­DAY, when Banyana Banyana takes on Namibia in their sec­ond match of Group C at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium (Kick-off 4.30pm), De­siree El­lis can only hope that tired legs won’t show from her side when they take on a team which won their first match of the group by a 4-0 score­line against Botswana three days ago.

Namibia will go in as po­ten­tial favourites, af­ter hav­ing re­ceived a day off , while El­lis’ charges weren’t al­lowed such a priv­i­lege.

This match will be Banyana’ sec­ond in a row with no off-day in be­tween, af­ter saun­ter­ing past their op­po­nents yes­ter­day here in Lu­veve Sta­dium in Bu­l­awayo, Zim­babwe.

In the first pe­riod of this match, Banyana played with so much con­fi­dence on the ball mov­ing from the back straight into the op­po­si­tion’s de­fen­sive third.

They weaved their passes beau­ti­fully, forc­ing their op­po­nents to chase shad­ows, each time they were on the ball.

Banyana cap­tain, Re­filoe Jane, was the mas­ter­mind be­hind see­ing her side tick from cen­tral mid­field go­ing into the fi­nal third. She was the an­chor in the heart of mid­field while the likes of Le­an­dra Smeda, Rachael Se­bati and right-back Le­bo­hang Ra­malepe, pressed for­ward in an at­tempt to un­lock the op­po­si­tion’s de­fense.

How­ever, each time Banyana did that, they were failed by their striker Chantelle Esau, who blasted off every chance she was pre­sented. The striker missed three golden scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties which could have seen the na­tional side up by 4-0 go­ing into to the half time break.

Smeda net­ted to see Banyana go into the half­time break with a 1-0 lead, af­ter launch­ing a pow­er­ful shot which beat Thuto Maifo , who was way off her line to make a save.

In the sec­ond pe­riod of the match, Esau came back onto the pitch a player in­spired to make up for her pre­vi­ous mis­takes. Her work rate in the sec­ond stanza saw her net­ting Banyana’ sec­ond of the day, fol­low­ing a sweet cross from Rhoda Mu­laudzi on the far side who spot­ted her un­marked in­side the 18 yard area. Esau didn’t fluff this chance, mak­ing sure her shot was on tar­get.

Just 17 min­utes be­fore full­time, Esau be­came the creator for Banyana’s third goal, and played a beau­ti­ful lob pass into the 18-yard area, af­ter spot­ting Thembi Kgat­lana who had about three play­ers on her tail.

Kgat­lana, how­ever, eas­ily evaded them with her im­pec­ca­ble drib­bling skills, and di­rected the ball home with a beauty of a fin­ish to make it 3-0.

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