Argentina……..(0)2 (Braun 74’, Nunez 78’)

South Africa…(1)2   (Motlhalo 30’, Kgatlana 66’)

28 July 2023 – Banyana Banyana were once again unable to secure maximum points after they were held to a disappointing 2-2 draw by  Argentina in their second FIFA Women’s World Cup Group G match at the Dunedin stadium on Friday. 

The African champions were the better side in the first half with Linda Motlhalo slotting in a Thembi Kgatlana shot the 30th minute in what was initially thought to be offside.  But the goal was later given after the referee consulted VAR.

Despite numerous opportunities that the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana created in the opening period, coach Desiree Ellis’ charges couldn’t take advantage of their dominance and they went to the halftime break with a slender 1-0 lead.

The South African senior women’s national team was dealt a further  blow when captain Refiloe Jane was stretched off the pitch after a collision with an Argentina player, which forced coach Desiree Ellis to make an unplanned substitution.

The players stepped up a gear with Kgatlana finally getting a goal in the 66th minute to extend the African champions’ lead.

The team looked to be in complete control of the game until Sophia Braun pulled one back for Argentina in the 74th minute. Before the South Africans could recover from the setback, Romina Nunez levelled the score in the 78th minute.

The physicality of the evenly contested match continued until the final whistle, with both teams settling for a draw in a result that leaves the  South Africans with a much bigger task in their final group match against Italy on 2 August 2023.

A disappointed Ellis said the decision-making in the final third allowed the South Americans to make a comeback. 

“I don’t think it was the defence that was the problem, the defence held out really well. It  was the chances we created, it   was the moments when we got into the final third and made the wrong decisions, the players running free on goal. If we had made better decisions, we would be talking differently right now,” said Ellis. 

“We cannot create all those chances, and then they get those two chances at the back and they score. It’s about taking our chances and making the right decisions in the final third.” 

Ellis had made two changes to the line-up that started against Sweden with Sibulele Holweni and Kholosa Biyana making way for Karabo Dhlamini and Noxolo Cesane. 

The seriousness of Jane’s injury will be revealed once confirmed by the team doctor. 

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