Home Sport Late Motlhalo penalty sends Banyana into Wafcon final

Late Motlhalo penalty sends Banyana into Wafcon final

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Linda Motlhalo converted a penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage time as Banyana Banyana beat Zambia to reach the final of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Casablanca on Monday.

South Africa’s Linda Motlhalo celebrates with teammates after scoring a late winning goal during their Womens Africa Cup of Nations semi-final against Zambia in Casablanca on Monday
South Africa’s Linda Motlhalo celebrates with teammates after scoring a late winning goal during their Womens Africa Cup of Nations semi-final against Zambia in Casablanca on Monday. Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

Durban — Linda Motlhalo’s second half stoppage time penalty conversion made the difference as Banyana Banyana advanced to the final of Wafcon with a 1-0 win over Zambia at the Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca on Monday night.

The penalty came after a VAR check confirmed Martha Tembo had fouled Banyana’s Jermaine Seoposenwe in the area.

The only thing that Banyana dominated in the first half was the possession. It was the Copper Queens who created more and the better opportunities. The South Africans were fortunate that goalkeeper Andile Dlamini was in good form and quite easily dealt with Zambia’s shots.

Zambia had their first good chance in the 12th minute which was gifted to them by Bongeka Gamede. Dlamini ended up easily saving the shot from Grace Chanda. A minute later, Noko Matlou produced a potentially goal saving defensive intervention to win the ball from Chanda when she was headed for a one on one opportunity at goal.

Banyana struggled to create opportunities of note in the first half but had their first good chance in the 25th minute. Trying to find Matlou with an indirect free-kick, Refiloe Jane forced Evarine Katongo into a headed clearance which went to her own goalkeeper Catherine Musonda who was standing in for the injured Hazel Nali who is normally the Copper Queens first-choice number one.

In a bid to inject more energy into her side, Banyana coach Desiree Ellis made two changes heading into the second half. Melinda Kgadiete and Thalea Smidt made way for Hildah Magaia and Nomvula Kgoale respectively.

Lushoma Mweemba was initially judged to have fouled Noxolo Cesane in the 58th minute in the penalty area. However, as Motlhalo lined up a spot-kick, a VAR check overturned the decision to a free-kick. Jermaine Seoposenwe’s subsequent set-piece was deflected out of play by the Zambian wall.

There was a painful clash in the 72nd minute between the Zambian keeper and Magaia. The contact occurred as Magaia tried in vain to latch onto a ball from Cesane. Both players required treatment.

Banyana had a good opportunity to score in the 82nd minute. Good interplay between Seoposenwe and Magia led to the latter forcing a brilliant reflex save from the Zambian keeper.

The end of the game was nerve wracking. Zambia exceeded expectations and came close to scoring on a number of occasions. In the end, Banyana managed to do what they needed to do to halt the opposition from scoring.

@eshlinv

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