A gallant South African Women’s Olympic Team went down 1-0 to Sweden in the opening match of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games played on Wednesday, 3 August 2016 at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

A gallant South African Women’s Olympic Team went down 1-0 to Sweden in the opening match of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games played on Wednesday, 3 August 2016 at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The clash was the first event in these Games, with the opening ceremony only taking place on Friday, 5 August.

Four years ago Banyana Banyana faced the same team in the opening match of the 2012 London Olympic Games and lost 4-1.

This time around it was a spirited performance from Vera Pauw’s charges who were let down by a goalkeeping error from Roxanne Barker in the 75th minute – gifting the Swedes their win after the South Africans held their own up to this point.

Pauw made three changes to the team that lost 4-1 to New Zealand last week (Thursday, 28 July 2016) in an international friendly match in Rio – starting with Noko Matloe, Amanda Dlamini and Shiwe Nogwanya in place of Bambanani Mbane, Leandra Smeda and Linda Motlhalo.

The move paid dividends as South Africa played with purpose and kept Sweden at bay.

While they got some chances in the match, Banyana Banyana did not threaten the Swedish goals as they lacked firepower upfront.

Sweden showed their intentions as early as the first five minutes of the game when Sofia Jakobsson hit the crossbar.

Pauw made a forced substitution when Nogwanya was stretchered off five minutes from the break with an ankle injury – she was taken for a scan after the match – with Motlhalo taking her place.

With no goals at the break, South Africa gained more confidence and when they had Sweden with their backs to the wall, they conceded the soft goal with 15 minutes left on the clock.

However much they tried to get an equaliser, Banyana Banyana just couldn’t as they found Sweden too tough to break through.

It ended 1-0 in favour of the European side.

In the other group match, played afterwards at the same venue, Brazil ran out a comfortable 3-0 winners over China.

South Africa next faces China in their second match on Saturday, 6 August, while Brazil will battle it out with Sweden.


Here is how they lined up:

Sweden:
Hedvig Lindahl (GK), Linda Sembrant, Nilla Fischer, Magdalena Ericsson, Lisa Dahlkvist (Elin Blackstenius 46), Lotta Schelin, Kosovare Asllani, Sofia Jakobsson (Stina Blackstenius 69), Fridolina Rolfö (Olivia Schough 76), Jessica Samuelsson, Caroline Seger

Subs:
Carlen Hilda (GK), Jonna Andersson, Emma Berglund, Stina Blackstenius, Olivia Schough, Emilia Appelqvist, Elin Rubensson

Coach: Pia Sundhage (Sweden)


South Africa:
Roxanne Barker (GK), Lebohang Ramalepe (Sanah Mollo 82), Nothando Vilakazi, Noko Matlou, Janine Van Wyk, Mamello Makhabane, Stephanie Malherbe, Amanda Dlamini, Shiwe Nogwanya (Linda Motlhalo 40), Jermaine Seoposenwe, Refiloe Jane.

Subs:
Andile Dlamini (GK), Bambanani Mbane, Sanah Mollo, Robyn Moodaly, Leandra Smeda, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Linda Motlhalo

Coach:Vera Pauw (Netherlands)

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