Banyana go down in Cyprus

Noko Matlou

Banyana Banyana were beaten 2-1 by South Korea in their opening match of the Cyprus Women’s Cup earlier this week.

The Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana dominated possession in the first half of the match but had to settle for a goalless score-line at the interval. During the halftime break the rain began to pour down at the Tascos Marko Stadium in Paralimni.

The South Koreans played with the powerful wind in their favour in the second period and a raid on the South African penalty area saw team captain Yun-Hee Chu slot the ball home wide of Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Thoko Mndaweni in the 50th minute.

The wind – which kept relatively low during the first half of the match – assisted the South Koreans, with the Banyana Banyana midfield pushed back to help their defenders. The South Koreans doubled their lead in the 69th minute when goalkeeper Mndaweni and right back defender Simphiwe Masina got into a tangle, and the ball slipped off Masina’s boot for Minji Leo to slot the ball home.

Noko Matlou scored her 53rd goal for her country in her 65th international appearance when she converted some Banyana Banyana pressure by firing the ball home through a crowded penalty area in the final minute of the match.

Central defender Amanda Sister played superbly in the Banyana Banyana rear-guard and cleared the ball away from many dangerous attacking situations set up by the South Koreans, while US-based midfielder Kylie-Ann Louw was a constant threat on the right flank.

Banyana Banyana will face New Zealand in their second match at the tournament on Thursday.