Janine van Wyk in action during the match against the Czech Republic at Antonis Papado Stadium , Cyprus. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG  Banyana Banyana will probably blame it all on the downpour that turned the pitch of the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Larnaca, Cyprus for their defeat yesterday.

Yet such are the demands of international football that a team has to be able to play under all conditions.

Looking good for their first win in the Cyprus Women’s Cup in their final group match after Mamello Makhabane’s strike early in the match, Desiree Ellis’ team crumbled under the Czech Republic’s incessant pressure and conceded two goals in the final 10 minutes.

Captain Janine van Wyk tweeted immediately after the game: 

“Very disappointed with the result today. 1st half was brilliant, we were untouchable. We started the 2nd half well up until it poured down with rain which flooded the pitch. Our momentum was lost after slipping & sliding. The Czechs took control of the match & won it.”

Banyana played purposeful, attacking football yesterday and they were asking questions of the opposition’s defence early on.

It was on the quarter-hour mark when Linda Motlhalo laid on a pass to Makhabane who had acres of space to use the possession fruitfully. Instead she blasted the ball wide of the Czech goal. But she made amends soon thereafter as she slotted home the opening goal on 17 minutes, again having been set up by Motlhalo..

The Czechs piled on the pressure after the break as they looked to restore parity and almost achieved that objective on 57 minutes but their attempt rattled the crossbar, with the rebound being sent wide. 

The Czechs got their equaliser on 81 minutes and stole the winner a minute from time to break Banyana hearts. 

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