Africa heart­break for Banyana

Our girls hold Nige­ria’s Su­per Fal­cons but suc­cumb in shootout

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - SOC­CER RE­PORT

NIGE­RIA 0 SOUTH AFRICA 0

Nige­ria win 4-3 on penalty shootout

CON­TI­NEN­TAL glory re­mained elu­sive for Banyana Banyana once again, South Africa’s se­nior women’s team falling short in Ac­cra, Ghana, last night as the Su­per Fal­cons cap­tured a ninth Women’s Africa Cup of Na­tions ti­tle.

Both Le­bo­gang Ra­malepe and Linda Moth­lalo missed their spot kicks dur­ing the shootout af­ter the full match and ex­tra time failed to pro­duce goals.

But Nige­ria should have set­tled the tie be­fore ex­tra time be­cause he Su­per Fal­cons missed a spot kick on 75 min­utes.

Banyana vet­eran Noko Mat­lou, hav­ing just come on as a sub­sti­tute, made a vain at­tack to kick the ball away but only suc­ceeded in di­rect­ing it into her team’s penalty box, essen­tially gift­ing posses­sion to Nige­ria.

Kaylin Swart came off her line but was too late to get the ball and only suc­ceeded in up­end­ing the Su­per Fal­cons’ at­tacker.

From the spot kick, As­sisat Oshoala in­cred­i­bly scuffed the ball wide of goal to the de­light of the South Africans in the crowd.

While that was that most glar­ing chance of the game, both teams had other chances to get goals prior to the ex­tended pe­riod and in ex­tra time.

Oshoala had a penalty ap­peal turned away just be­fore the break fol­low­ing a good run into the box.

Nige­ria’s Fran­cisca Ordega twisted and turned Banyana de­fend­ers but her cross was too strong on 37 min­utes and she then shot over just af­ter the break.

Swart also made two bril­liant sim­i­lar saves that saw her dive full on the ground to push the ball out, the first on 24 min­utes and the other four min­utes onto ex­tra­time.

For Banyana, star player Thembi Kgat­lana had op­por­tu­ni­ties too.

On 40 min­utes she re­ceived an Itume­leng Khune-es­que long pass from Swart, beat a de­fender but was too slow to take the ad­van­tage and the de­fender re­cov­ered to clear.

The tour­na­ment’s star player weaved her magic to beat three Nige­rian de­fend­ers on 97 min­utes but her shot was di­rectly at goal­keeper Oluehi Tochukwu.

Nige­ria’s num­ber one then pulled off a fab­u­lous safe to tip over a free kick by Mamello Makha­bane.

And it was her who was the toast of her team af­ter the Su­per Fal­cons pre­vailed once more, for the third suc­ces­sive tour­na­ment.

While hav­ing to con­tend with be­ing brides­maids once more, Banyana will no doubt find con­so­la­tion in the fact that they have qual­i­fied for their maiden World Cup ap­pear­ance, to be hosted by France next year.

MUZI NTOMBELA BackpagePix

JER­MAINE Seo­posenwe of South Africa fis ouled by Josephine Chi­wendu Chuk­wunonye of Nige­ria dur­ing the African Women’s Cup of Na­tions fi­nal |

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