Banyana hold 11th-ranked South Korea to 0-0 draw | TeamSA - TeamSA
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Banyana hold 11th-ranked South Korea to 0-0 draw

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An impressive Banyana Banyana national women’s side held a gutsy South Korea to a goalless draw in Tuesday’s third and final group stage clash in the Cyprus Women’s Cup.

The Koreans are ranked 11th in the world, compared to South Africa’s 54th position on the FIFA Women’s World rankings. The Asians were a late replacement in the tournament, taking the place of Trinidad and Tobago who withdrew shortly before the start of the competition.

South African head coach Desiree Ellis made four changes to the starting line-up, bringing in goalkeeper Kaylin Swart for Roxanne Barker, Regina Mogolola for Lebohang Ramalepe, Leandra Smeda for Nothando Vilakazi and Linda Motlhalo for Sduduzo Dlamini.

It was always going to be a tough match, as both sides hadn’t lost in the two fixtures they’d played before Monday’s clash. With both playing a similar style of attacking football and ball retention, it became an evenly contested, very open and exciting game of football.

It was Korea who had the first shot at goal, and a ferocious shot found Swart alert in the South African goals.

The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana did have a chance through Linda Motlhalo in the 23nd minute but the keeper saved her shot.

It was more of the same in the second stanza with both sides creating chances but nothing to write home about.

The best chance of the game belonged to second half substitute Jermaine Seoposenwe whose header sailed over the cross bar, with the goalkeeper in wonderland.

In the 74th minute, South Africa were saved by the cross bar with Swart well beaten, and her defence cleared the rebound.

Ellis made several changes to the team to bring in fresh legs – Nompumelelo Nyandeni replacing Rachel Sebati, Noko Matlou going in for Melinda Kgadiete and Seoposenwe on for Kgaelebane Mohlakoana, while Chantelle Esau took the place of Refiloe Jane.

Nyandeni and Matlou were playing in their first match of the tournament – with the latter being used as a striker, a role she excelled in before she was converted to a defender.

But there was no change to the score line and it ended 0-0.

The only player yet to play in this edition of the Cyprus Cup is defender Zanele Nhlapho.

This was a good showing by Banyana Banyana as they have now gone three matches unbeaten in the tournament – something they haven’t been able to achieve in their last five appearances. It’s also the first time they haven’t not conceded any goals.

The match was clearly a great advert for women’s football as both teams were a sight to watch.

The result means Banyana Banyana complete the group stages with five points, two behind log leaders Korea.

The South Africans are still in line to get their highest finish in the tournament when they will be contesting for position five/six on Wednesday against an as yet unidentified opponent in the last match of the competition.

In their inaugural appearance of the Cyprus Cup in 2009, they came sixth – at a time when there were only eight teams in the tournament.

The team return home on Friday.

Picture of You Jong Im of South Korea challenging Melinda Kgadiete courtesy of Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Banyana Banyana’s Group C results
South Africa 0 – 0 Slovakia
South Africa 1 – 0 Hungary
Korea DPR 0 – 0 South Africa

Here’s how Banyana lined up: Kaylin Swart (GK), Regina Mogolola, Leandra Smeda, Bambanani Mbane, Janine van Wyk (c), Refiloe Jane (Chantelle Esau), Rachel Sebati (Nompumelelo Nyandeni), Kgaelebane Mohlakoana (Jermaine Seoposenwe), Melinda Kgadiete (Noko Matlou), Linda Motlhalo, Thembi Kgatlana
Subs: Andile Dlamini (GK), Roxanne Barker (GK), Nothando Vilakazi, Noko Matlou, Zanele Nhlapho, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Sduduzo Dlamini, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Lebohang Ramalepe, Chantelle Esau
Coach: Desiree Ellis


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