A much-improved performance by Banyana Banyana was not enough to avoid a 1-0 defeat against the Republic of Ireland in their second Group C match in the Cyprus, in a match that was played in windy conditions at the Paralimni Stadium in Cyprus, on Friday, 8 March, 2013.
The Sasol-sponsored side dominated the contest in the first half, and struck the crossbar three times in the second half, but unluckily failed to score against the towering opponents, who came into the match buoyed by a 5-1 opening day drubbing of Northern Ireland also in Group C.
Playing with the advantage of the wind in the first half, Ireland put Banyana on the back foot but coach Joseph Mkhonza’s charges weathered the pressure. From one such incident with the wind in favour of the Irish, Grace Murray watched in agony as her in-swinging corner kick from the left struck the crossbar and cleared to safety by the outstanding Janine van Wyk.
Refiloe Jane and Amanda Dlamini produced a far better display in the middle of the park to stifle the Irish but it was upfront where Banyana’s attack looked jaded. Jane, in particular, played superbly as the protective shield for the back four. Jermaine Seoposenwe was sent through by a defence-splitting pass from Jane, but saw her shot saved by Ireland goal minder Emma Byrne midway through the first half.
After the break, a lapse of concentration in the opening five minutes of the second half saw the Irish girls profit through an Aine ‘O Gorman half-volley, from inside the penalty area.
Substitute Noko Matlou and fellow striker Nomathemba Ntsibande both came close to scoring on three occasions in the second half, but Matlou’s header agonizingly shaved the upright, and moments later, Ntsibande struck the upright with a fierce low shot.
Ireland goalkeeper Byrne dived low again later, to keep out another one of Matlou’s attempts towards the end of the match.
Arguably the best player on the park for Banyana was winger Mary Ntsweng. She thought she had scored with a long range effort but watched in disbelief as the shot cannoned off the crossbar following sustained pressure by the fighting Banyana side that searched without luck for the elusive equaliser.
Despite conceding early on in the second half, South Africa goalkeeper Andile Dlamini performed well on the few occasions she faced challenging situations, a huge improvement from her first outing on Wednesday.
The 2012 African Women championship runners up will face Northern Ireland in their final Group C match on Monday (14:30) in Cyprus.
In the late evening kickoff after the SA and Republic of Ireland game, Korea Republic will play against Northern Ireland.
Cyprus Women’s Cup 2013 Results: Warm-Up, Saturday 2 March: South Africa 2-2 New Zealand Wednesday 6 March: New Zealand 1-0 Scotland Canada 2-0 Switzerland South Africa 0-2 South Korea England 4-2 Italy Netherlands 1-1 Finland Republic of Ireland 5-1 Northern Ireland Friday 8 March: Italy 0-2 New Zealand Republic of Ireland 1-0 South Africa Switzerland 1-1 Netherlands Scotland 4-4 England Finland 1-2 Canada South Korea 3-0 Northern Ireland Group A Log (Team, Played, Points): New Zealand – 2 – 6 England – 2 – 4 Scotland – 2 – 1 Italy – 2 – 0 Group B: Canada – 2 – 6 Netherlands – 2 – 2 Finland – 2 – 1 Switzerland – 2 – 1 Group C: Republic of Ireland – 2 – 6 South Korea – 2 – 6 South Africa – 2 – 0 Northern Ireland – 2 – 0 Upcoming Fixtures: Monday 11 March: 14.30: England vs New Zealand (GSP, Nicosia) 14.30: Italy vs Scotland (GSZ, Larnaca) 17.30: Netherlands vs Canada (GSP, Nicosia) 17.30: Finland vs Switzerland (GSZ, Larnaca) 14.30: South Africas vs Northern Ireland (Tasos Marko Stadium, Paralimni) 17.30: South Korea vs Republic of Ireland (Tasos Marko Stadium, Paralimni) Wednesday 13 March: Finals Day: TBC The Banyana Banyana Squad for the Cyprus Cup: 1. Andile Dlamini (Sundowns Ladies FC) 2. Lebogang Mabatle (Halleluyah Zebra Force) 3. Nothando Vilakazi (Palace Super Falcons FC) 4. Jermaine Seoposenwe (UWC Ladies FC) 5. Janine van Wyk (Palace Super Falcons FC) 6. Zamandosi Cele (Durban Ladies FC) 7. Nomathemba Ntsibande (Springs Home Sweepers) 8. Silindile Ngubane (Durban Ladies) 9. Amanda Dlamini (UJ Ladies FC) 10. Mary Ntsweng (TUT Ladies FC) 11. Noko Matlou (UJ Ladies FC) 12. Robyn Moodaly (Alexandra Ladies FC) 13. Gabisile Hlumbane (Kovsies Ladies FC) 14. Refiloe Jane (Sundowns Ladies FC) 15. Kaylin Swart (UWC Ladies FC) 16. Andisiwe Mgcoyi (Sundowns Ladies FC) 17. Nocawe Skiti (Cape Town Roses FC) 18. Zanele Chiya (TUT Ladies FC) 19. Mahlatsi Mogola (TUT Ladies FC) 20. Vuyo Mkhabela (UWC Ladies FC) 21. Gloria Thato (Tuks Ladies FC) 22. Shiwe Nongwanya (Bloemfontein Celtics)