Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk says her team “honestly deserved to win” their second match against Chile, which ended in a 2-2 draw in Santiago on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning SA time).
The South Africans lost 2-1 to the Chileans in the first encounter on Saturday, and will be delighted with their performances against a team who have already qualified for next year’s World Cup in France.
On Tuesday night, according to a report on the SA Football Association website, Banyana took the lead twice, in either half. As early as the fifth minute, the in-form Refiloe Jane found the back of the net with a cool finish to score her fourth goal in three games.
There were further opportunities for Jane and later Linda Motlhalo, while Chile also came close by hitting the crossbar, but there was no further addition to the scoreboard by halftime.
But the home side roared back in the second half, and from a free kick, Ambar Soruco headed in the equaliser in the 53rd minute.
It took about 10 minutes, though, for Banyana to regain their advantage. Thembi Kgatlana, who was brought back into the starting line-up by coach Desiree Ellis, first hit the upright, but then scored a minute later to put SA 2-1 up.
Banyana looked well on their way to pulling off a major upset, but they were unable to hold out for victory.
With less than 10 minutes to go, Javier Grez scored with a header from another free kick, which exposed Banyana’s shortcomings at set-pieces.
“What a great performance by the team tonight. This team is setting a trademark by the fighting spirit we always display. So proud to be part of it! We honestly deserved to win the game. We will continue to rise above all challenges,” skipper Van Wyk tweeted afterwards.
But Ellis should be pleased with the progress of her team, as the Chile trip was preparation for the upcoming African Women’s Championship in Ghana, which starts on November 17.@ashfakmohamed