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Banyana held to 0-0 Cyprus Cup draw

The Banyana Banyana national women’s side played to a goalless draw against Slovakia in their opening match of the 2018 Cyprus Women’s Cup on Wednesday.

The last time the South Africans were here in 2015 they finished in 10th position in the annual 12-nation event which kicked off on Wednesday and ends on 7 March.

Banyana Banyana were making their sixth appearance in the tournament. Both sides started brightly trying to get an early goal so as to settle down, but none came their way.

It was South Africa who came closest to a goal with a strike by Thembi Kgatlana in the 21st minute. She managed to beat the keeper, but was denied by the crossbar.

At times Banyana Banyana committed mistakes that almost saw them punished but they were quick to recover, and avert the danger.

There were no other real chances created in the first half.

Shortly after the break both sides made a substitution, Banyana Banyana bringing on Kgaelebane Mohlakoana, who was making her debut, for Leandra Smeda, while Slovakia introduced Petra Zdechovanova for Martina Surnovska.

In the 72nd minute Kgatlana was again free on goal as she beat her marker for pace but she shot straight into the arms of Lucia El Dahaibiova in the Slovakian goals, with the rebound cleared away from danger.

South Africa had another great chance five minutes later when substitute Mohlakoana received a pass in the box but her beautiful lob was parried away for a corner by the keeper.

Head coach Desiree Ellis made another substitution late in the match, replacing Chantelle Esau with Melinda Kgadiete, who was making her second appearance for Banyana Banyana after her debut against Sweden in Cape Town last month.

South Africa certainly had the best of chances to score but failed to convert them. The other Group C clash saw group favourites South Korea beating Hungary 2-0.

Banyana Banyana will be in action again on Friday when they take on Hungary at 6pm.

In the picture Refiloe Jane of South Africa challenges Maria Mikolajova of Slovakia. Picture courtesy of Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Here’s how they lined up:

South Africa:
Andile Dlamini (GK), Lebohang Ramalepe, Nothando Vilakazi, Bambanani Mbane, Janine van Wyk (c), Linda Motlhalo, Refiloe Jane, Leandra Smeda (Kgaelebane Mohlakoana), Jermaine Seoposenwe, Thembi Kgatlana, Chantelle Esau (Melinda Kgadiete)

Subs: Kaylin Swart (GK), Roxanne Barker (GK), Noko Matlou, Zanele Nhlapho, Regina Mogolola, Rachel Sebati, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Kgaelebane Mohlakoana, Melinda Kgadiete, Sduduzo Dlamini

Coach: Desiree Ellis