The South African Women’s Olympic Team put up a brace fight in their final match of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, holding hosts Brazil to a goalless draw.

The South African Women’s Olympic Team put up a brace fight in their final match of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, holding hosts Brazil to a goalless draw.

The clash took place on Tuesday, 9 August 2016 (Wednesday, 10 August in SA) at a sold-out Amazonia Arena in Manaus.

Banyana Banyana suffered two losses and a draw in Group E, thereby failing to proceed to the quarterfinals.

Brazil had already booked their place in the following impressive wins against China and Sweden – all three are in the last eight.

South Africa’s head coach Vera Pauw, made only one change to the team that lost 2-0 to China, giving Leandra Smeda a run in the place of Lebogang Ramalepe.

Brazil on the other hand made six changes to their team – which included their star player Marta, who had to come off the bench in the second half.

From the first whistle, the home side pushed South Africa all the way but the defence, led by captain Janine van Wyk, held very firm as the had to be alert at all times.

In cases where the defence was broken open, goalkeeper Roxanne Barker pulled off some great save to keep her side in the match.

While it was a team effort from South Africa, at times it looked like it was Brazil vs Barker, as she made save after save.

Both sides exchanged fire but could not find the back the of the net – Thembi Kgatlana for South Africa, whose shot was blocked by Aline in the Brazilian goal.

Barker made a brilliant save in the 24th minutes when she tipped over a goal bound shot.

Debhina then hit the upright when Barker misjudged a long-range shot, thinking it was going out.

With the score at half time goalless, this gave the South Africa defence more energy, and they upped their work rate as Brazil increased their attack.

Barker nearly gifted the Brazilians a goal when the ball slipped under her body, but midfielder Refiloe Jane cleared the danger.

With a lot of tired bodies on the field, which was also partly to the high temperatures and the humidity, Pauw introduced fresh legs when she brought on Sanah Mollo and Amanda Dlamini for Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana respectively.

However much Brazil tried, it ended goalless, Banyana Banyaana first point of the competition.

But they exit the Olympics without scoring a goal in three matches in the competition, despite creating numerous chances.

They are also the only team in Group E who did not concede against Brazil, who scored eight past China and Sweden.

South Africa put up a good performance throughout the tournament but failure in front of goals harmed any chance they had of progressing to the quarterfinals.

In the other Group E clash, which was played simultaneously, Sweden and China finished without goals scored.

Both nations finished on four points – enough to ensure qualification into the next round where they join Brazil while South Africa heads home.

This is how the lined up:

South Africa:
Roxanne Barker, Leandra Smeda, Nothando Vilakazi, Noko Matlou, Janine van Wyk (c), Mamello Makhabane, Stephanie Malherbe, Linda Motlhalo (Sanah Mollo), Jermaine Seoposenwe, Refiloe Jane, Thembi Kgatlana (Amanda Dlamini)

Andile Dlamini (GK), Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Bambanani Mbane, Sanah Mollo, Robyn Moodaly, Amanda Dlamini, Lebogang Ramalepe

Aline (GK), Monica, Thaisa, Tamires, Debinha, Andressa Alves, Poliana, Erika, Bruna (C), Raquel Fernandes, Andressa

Barbara (GK), Fabiana, Rafaele, Formiga, Marta, Cristiane, Beatriz

Match Officials:
REFEREE: FRAPPART Stephanie (France)
ASS. REF 1: NICOLOSI Manuela (France)
ASS. REF 2: PARGA Yolanda (Espanol)
4th Official: CARVAJAL Maria (Chile)