Banyana Finish 10th In Cyprus

The South African Senior Women’s National Team finished in 10th position in the Cyprus Women’s Cup after going down 1-2 to Finland in the 9th/10th place playoff which took place in Nicosia on Wednesday.  The match was played under wet conditions with rain falling continuously, the South African ladies failed to find their feet from the first whistle while Finland looked more comfortable, controlling the match with ease.  It was not a surprise when Finland took the lead in the seventh minute through Juliett Kempi after the Banyana Banyana defence failed to clear the ball.

A shortwhile later Banyana Banyana got a good chance to equalise when Refiloe Jane left her marker and lobbed the ball over the Finland goalkeeper but it went over the bar.  In the 19th minute South Africa was under attack again from the physically strong and quick-running Finnish players, but Roxanne Barker pulled off a great save to deny the opposition.  Three minutes later Finland was back at it and this time aided by the errors in the Banyana Banyana defence, when a back-pass from Janine Van Wyk found the opponents but the danger was dealt with.

South Africa was nearly punished when Barker misjudged a ball from the corner-kick but Amanda Dlamini was in place as she headed the ball out for another corner in the 28th minute.  But Vera Pauw’s charges could do nothing in the 30th minutes when a cross from the left-flank was not dealt with and found Anna Westerlund who slotted amid a cluster of players to give Finland a 2-0 lead going into the half-time break.  Pauw brought on Leandra Smeda for Lerato Kgasago at the start of the second half.

The Sasol-sponsored side started the second half the better of the two sides as they controlled the proceedings.  But it was Finland who nearly found the back of the net in the 56th minute, but Barker was alert in goals pulling off a great save.  In the 62nd minute, first half substitute Jermaine Seoposengwe who replaced Disebo Mametja, pulled one back for Banyana Banyana as she rounded off Finland goalkeeper Tinja-Rikka Korpela after outsprinting her marker, scoring her second goal in the tournament.

In search of an equaliser, South Africa made a double substitution – Lebogang Ramalepe and Portia Modise making way for Sanah Mollo and Shiwe Nogwanya.  Seoposengwe came close to finding the equaliser five minutes from the final whistle but her chance went just narrowly wide.  In the 89th minute Finland almost increased their lead when a thunderous long-range shot hit the crossbar leaving the score 2-1 in favour of the Finnish who end the tournament in 9th place while South Africa finish in 10th position.