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Banyana come from behind to hold Zimbabwe

A never-say-die attitude by Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana saw them come from behind to draw 2-2 with rivals Zimbabwe in an entertaining friendly international at Dobsonville Stadium at the weekend.

The lunch-time kick off match saw new coach Vera Pauw’s charges overhaul a 2-0 deficit to grab a deserved draw before a boisterous crowd that cheered them throughout.

It was the hosts that started with lots of running but were somehow undone by the long balls which the Zimbabwe backline easily dealt with.

And from the first counter-attack, Zimbabwe’s Rutendo Makore got the better of Letago Madiba on a one-on-one situation. The robust Madiba had no choice but bring down Makore leaving referee Maria Kolokotoane with little choice but to award a penalty which Makore dispatched with ease in the seventh minute.

Sensing Banyana Banyana had problems in dealing with long balls, Zimbabwe pumped high balls in the penalty area. From one of those attacks, Marjory Nyaumwe outpaced the static Banyana Banyana defence and her pile driver gave Roxanne Barker no chance to make it 2-0.

It could have been 3-0 but Makore’s audacious effort moments later hit the crossbar.

Banyana Banyana then came out of their shell and a combination of Refiloe Jane and Silindile Ngubane saw the latter’s effort hitting the bar as they started to threaten the visitors.

And after incessant pressure thereafter, a goal had to come. It arrived at the stroke of half time when Ngubane’s shot gave Dzingirai no chance to make it 2-1 going into the second half.

In the second half, Zimbabwe were pinned in their own half but their back four, well marshalled by Melody Musasa stood firm.

Robyn Moodaly could have equalised for Banyana Banyana but her long range effort was brilliantly parried for a corner by Chido Dzingirai as Zimbabwe hang on for dear life. However, the resultant corner kick went wide.

Banyana Banyana then literally camped into the visitors’ area but brave goalkeeping by Dzingirai frustrated the home side. Refiloe Jane saw her efforts skim the crossbar as Banyana Banyana upped the antic.

Former captain Amanda Dlamini who was introduced as a late substitute had a point blank header saved by Dzingirai as the war of attrition developed into a ding dong affair.

The vibrant crowd then raised the tempo cheering the girls as Banyana Banyana chased what appeared like an elusive equaliser.

But the hard-running Dlamini made it 2-2 as Zimbabwe finally cracked under pressure.

It was a deserved outcome as Pauw’s girls played with more purpose and were by far a better side in the second half.

Zimbabwe could have stolen an undeserved win later in the match but Barker produced a one-handed save from Felistas Muzongondi after the goalkeeper had been left exposed by her defence.