Home Sport Banyana roar into Cosafa finals after sluggish start

Banyana roar into Cosafa finals after sluggish start

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SA failed to apply the style of play which got them to this stage of the competition

GOAL-DEN GIRL: Leandra Smeda of South Africa is challenged by Rhoda Chileshe of Zambia during their 2017 Cosafa Womens Championship semi-final at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday. Picture: BackpagePix

South Africa(0) 3

Smeda 75, 79, Mulaudzi 83

Zambia(2) 3

Banda 20, Chanda 44, Zulu 73

SOUTH AFRICA progressed to this year’s Cosafa Women’s Championship final after beating Zambia 5-3 on penalties yesterday here.

Goals by Leandra Smeda who scored a brace in the second period of the match, and an easy tap-in by Rhoda Mulaudzi following a cross from Thembi Kgatlana, was enough to see the SA national side survive what could have been their worst performance of this tournament, following a slow start they had displayed in the first stanza of this match-up.

In the first period of this match, South Africa failed to apply the style of play which got them to this stage of the competition.

Desiree Ellis’ charges opted to play long balls each time they were on the attack, instead of the quick one-two carpet football style of play, which saw them saunter past sides like Lesotho and Namibia in their first two group matches to book their place into the semi-final stages of this competition with a game to go.

That decision affected Banyana pretty badly as it allowed their opponents more breathing space from the back, going into the final third.

Up in the final third, Zambia shone the brightest as compared to their opponents. They were more composed in front of goal, and took their shots towards the goalmouth each time they were presented with half chances.

Banyana lacked that in the first half.

Both Thembi Kgatlana and Chantelle Esau were kept quiet as pairing strikers by the opposition’s defence. Refiloe Jane couldn’t make the team play with her well-known passing game either.

She-polopolo took full advantage of that weakness in Banyana’s camp. They scored two goals which saw them take the lead going into the halftime break.

Barbra Banda was the first one to put her name on the score sheet. The Zambian attacking player sweetly converted the chance with a well-taken header to give her side the desired lead.

Grace Chanda was the one who followed with the second goal to make it 2-0 just before the stroke of half-time.

In the second period of the match, Banyana played with more penetration power against their opponent as compared to the first, who thought that the game was done and dusted right after Grace Zulu scored a third just 27 minutes from the break.

However, Banyana showed great heart and fought their way back, scoring the required three goals through Smeda’s brace and Rhoda Mulaudzi’s late tap-in, to send this encounter straight into penalties.