Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana have suffered their second loss in a row at the 2019 Cyprus Women’s Cup. Playing with ten players, the Czech Republic came back from a goal down to win 2-1.
The match took place on Monday, 4 March 2019 at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Larnaca. Head coach Desiree Ellis had made four changes to the starting line-up, and they seemed to be making a huge difference as Banyana Banyana had their better starts in the tournament. It came as no surprise when in the 17th minute Linda Motlhalo passed the ball to an on-running Mamello Makhabane who made no mistake to slot the ball home and take a 1-0 lead.
The Czech Republic was reduced to 10 players when Jarchovska Andre was red carded for a dangerous tackle on Refiloe Jane. The second half was completely different affair for Banyana Banyana with a heavy downpour at the restart. This gave the Czech Republic the upper hand as they thrived in wet conditions, with South Africa struggling.
In the 60th minute the Europeans could have scored when goalkeeper Andile Dlamini failed to control a back pass but Banyana Banyana survived. Ellis made changes – bringing on Thembi Kgatlana for Amanda Mthandi, Nothando Vilakazi for Rhoda Mulaudzi, Molatelo Sebata for Makhabane and Busisiwe Ndimeni for Motlhalo. This was Kgatlana’s 50th appearance for South Africa. With rain coming down heavy, the South Africans failed to keep up and the Czech Republic could have scored at least two more but Banyana Banyana were rescued by the crossbar on those occasions, with Dlamini and her defence also playing a key role in denying them.
But the camel’s back was finally broken in the 81st minute following relentless pressure, and it was 1-1. Eight minutes later they found their second to make it 2-1 and condemn Banyana Banyana to their second loss in a row in the tournament, following the 4-1 defeat to Korea DPR.