Banyana Banyana put one foot in the semi-finals of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (Awcon) after hammering Equatorial Guinea 7-1 in the second group stage match at Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Ghana on Wednesday night.
Although the victory has put them at the summit of Group B, they’ll at least need a draw in the last stage match against Zambia on Saturday to safely seal a spot in the last four.
From the starting team that pulled off a historic win over Nigeria in the opener, Banyana coach Desiree Ellis made three changes for the encounter as Thembi Kgatlana, Nompumelelo Nyandeni and Kgaelebane Mohlakoane all got the nod ahead of Busisiwe Ndimeni, Mamello Makhabane and Refiloe Jane.
Still high on confidence after their win against the Super Falcons, Banyana should have taken the lead as early as the second minute as an unmarked Leandra Smeda casually directed her attempt to goalkeeper Emiliana Ndong after being set up by Jermaine Seoposenwe.
However, the South Africans didn’t drop their guard and continued to search for a lead.
Their persistence finally paid off in the 19th minute as defender Dorine Chuigoue was judged for a handball inside her penalty area, after being under pressure from Seoposenwe.
The 20-year-old Houston Dash midfielder Linda Motlhalo took the responsibility and slotted the spot-kick into the bottom corner.
Three minutes later, Ellis’ new starters Kgatlana and Nyandeni combined to double Banyana’s lead.
On the run of play, Kgatlana distracted her marker towards the byline before setting up an unmarked Nyandeni, who calmly controlled the ball before finishing off with an easy tap-in.
Banyana looked as though they’d go to the interval with a two-goal advantage or even more as Kgatlana – who scored that solitary strike against Nigeria last Sunday – was providing to be a nuisance for the Guineans defence with her pace and skill down the right flank.
However, it was not to be, as the Guineans pulled one back in referee’s additional time courtesy of Elena Oyana after a mis-kick by Smeda inside her own box.
With barely five minutes gone in the second half, Kgatlana grabbed her second assist as she unselfishly set-up substitute Jane for an easy tap-in.
Deservedly, the Dash striker finally got her name on the scoreboard as she got on the end of a through-ball and rounded an on-rushing Ndong, before passing the ball into the back of the net.
Three minutes later, Banyana’s best player at the moment, Kgatlana, grabbed her brace in similar fashion as her first, thanks to a defence-splitting pass from Seoposenwe.
With 15 minutes to go, substitute Amanda Mthandi bagged her first goal after being teed up by Motlhalo.
Seoposenwe joined in the party and put the final nail in the coffin with a calm finish from close-range.
. @Banyana_Banyana travels to Accra on Thursday to face Zambia in the last match of the group stages on Saturday 24 November, while Nigeria and EQG wi do battle in Cape Coast simultaneously @ 16h00 local time (18h00 SA time). A draw will be enough for SA to reach last 4— Banyana_Banyana (@Banyana_Banyana) November 21, 2018