Super Falcons keep Banyana at bay
5 November 2010
Banyana Banyana were beaten 2-1 by Nigeria in a CAF African Women's Championship group match played before a capacity crowd at Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton outside Johannesburg on Thursday. South Africa now need a win over Mali on Sunday to advance to the semi-finals.
With their victory, the Super Falcons held onto their top spot in Group A with six points and seven goals. They also kept their unbeaten record against South Africa intact.
South Africa is in second place, with four points, and a goal difference of nought.
Mali, who beat Tanzania 3-2 on Thursday, also has four points, but a goal difference of minus-three. Tanzania has yet to score a point.
Against Nigeria, the number-one ranked team on the continent, Banyana Banayana failed to play as a unit in the first half, and the West Africans limited the home side's effectiveness in midfield by working hard to close down space.
Throughout the first half the Super Falcons' defence kept Banyana attackers Noko Matlou and Jermaine Seoposenwe at bay. Banyana's defenders were not as effective as Nigeria's defenders, and the Nigerians took the lead after 22 minutes through 35-year-old striker Perpetua Nkwocha.
Nkwocha, who netted a hat-trick against Mali in Nigeria's previous match, was set free by Ebere Orji, who split South Africa's central defenders, Janine van Wyk and Amanda Sister, with her pass.
Five minutes later, Nkwocha netted a header for her second goal of the game, after Banyana had conceded a corner with some sloppy play.
Just before the half-time whistle, South Africa won a set-piece 27 metres from the box and Banyana's no-nonsense defender Janine van Wyk scored with a well-taken shot to pull one back for Augustine Makalakalane's charges.
Banyana were far better in the second half and dominated the Super Falcons early on, but struggled to find an equalizer after going behind again.
Nigeria fought their way back into the game as South Africa gave away possession too easily in midfield. When the home team tried to move forward, the Super Falcons' defence remained disciplined and kept Banyana out.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, South Africa almost levelled the scores when goalkeeper Precious Dede fumbled a cross, but Popela Mamphase was just beaten to the rebound by a Nigerian defender.
South Africa beat Tanzania 2-1 in their opening match, while the Super Falcons thrashed Mali 5-nil.
Tournament favourites Nigeria take on Tanzania, also at 15:30, at the Makhulong Stadium on Sunday.
The Nigerians previously won the tournament in 1998, 2000, 2002 2004 and 2006.
BuaNews and SAinfo reporter