Banyana Banyana increased their chances of qualifying for this year’s Africa Women’s Cup of Nations after a 2-nil win against Algeria in Soweto this afternoon. South Africa scored a goal in each half to overcome their North African opponents in the final round of qualification. The second leg encounter will be played away in Algiers on Wednesday. The top four finishers in the AFCON tournament automatically qualify for next year’s FIFA World Cup.
Banyana Banyana went into this match as slight favourites after defeating Algeria 5-1 when the two nations last met in 2014. South Africa had to redeem themselves after losing their warm-up match away to Zambia last weekend. But Banyana were strengthened by the arrival of their nine overseas-based players who missed the friendly against Zambia.
Six overseas-based players, including Captain Refiloe Jane, Thembi Kgatlana, and Linda Motlhalo, were in the starting eleven. The visitors were the first to threaten to score as early as the sixth minute after a defensive blunder by South Africa.
The home side responded a minute later, but a header from defender Noko Matlou went wide. The South Africans created more scoring opportunities than their opponents, but failed to find the back of the net. Eventually, Hildah Magaia broke the deadlock in the 40th minute after a corner kick. Kgatlana failed to stretch Banyana Banyana’s lead early in the second half from a one-a-one with the keeper. The Algerian keeper, Chloe Yamina denied Banyana two minutes later.
Karabo Dhlamini was unlucky to be denied by the crossbar in the 50th minute. The game was not a one sided affair as Algeria pushed hard for the equaliser.The Algerian keeper was kept busy by South Africa’s forwards. South Africa created a lot of scoring opportunities in the match, but failed to capitalise. Substitute Mapula Kgoale also failed to find the back of the net.
Algeria had a rare opportunity to go forward, but Banyana Banyana’s defence managed to deal with the danger. Banyana star Kgatlana fluffed another chance to score three minutes from time. But the Atletico Madrid forward made amends when she stretched South Africa’s lead in the 90th minute.