The South African Senior Women’s National Team (Banyana Banyana) went down 2-0 to Mexico in the opening match of the Cyprus Women’s Cup at the Paralimni Stadium on Wednesday. Second half goals from Charlyn Corral and Stephany Mayor ensured victory for Mexico. Although Mexico enjoyed most of the ball possession in the first stanza, the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana held their own as they did not allow the Mexicans to bully them.
This was the South Africans’ first match in 2015. They last played in October in the CAF African Women’s Championship in Namibia, but they did not show any rustiness. Mexico got their first goal scoring opportunity in the 8th minute, but Corral’s volley went over Roxanne Barker’s goals.
Vera Pauw’s charges got a break through in the 16th minute after Sanah Mollo paced down the flank, but her cross found only the Mexican players in the box. Mollo got another chance on the half-hour mark, she released a great shot from the edge of the box, but the Mexican keeper, Cecilia Santiago, was well alert to make a save. Barker made a comfortable save from Mexico’s set-piece from just outside the box eight minutes later.
The match went into the break with both teams deadlocked at 0-0. Mexico put Banyana Banyana under more pressure at the start of the second half, as they took the lead in the 53rd minute. Pauw’s charges lost possession from a throw-in close to the box, this gave Corral an opportunity to take a shot from the edge of the box, past Barker.
Five minutes later, Mollo was brought down in the box after she managed to go past the Mexican central defenders, but the referee waived play on, denying South Africa a penalty that could have perhaps brought them back into the match. As a result of that challenge on Mollo, she could not continue with the match. Jermaine Seoposenwe came on in her place – her first match for Banyana Banyana after a lay-off from injury.
Refiloe Jane also got a chance at goal in the 68th minute, but her effort was easily managed by the Mexican keeper. Seconds later, Mayor extended Mexico’s lead from a long shot. Leandra Smeda came close to scoring for South Africa, but her well received cross from Shiwe Nogwanya was also saved by the keeper – and the match ended 2-0 in favour of the North American ladies.
Banyana Banyana face Belgium in their second match of Group C. The match is scheduled for 14:30 on Friday at the Paralimni Stadium.