Linda Motlhalo of South Africa celebrates her goal with teammates during their International Women's Friendly match against Jamaica at Moses Mabhida in Durban. Photo: Sidney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

DURBAN – Banyana Banyana were held to a 1-1 draw by Jamaica in friendly international at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Sunday afternoon. 

Banyana dominated the game and created numerous clear goal scoring opportunities to kill the game off but failed to utilise them. 

With all the chances they created and the bulk of the possession they enjoyed in the game, Banyana had to settle for a stalemate. 

It was Banyana's last game in front of their own supporters, and their next game will be away to the world champions, the United States before they head to the World Cup in France. 

Banyana were unlucky not to take the lead in the 20th minute of the clash when Refiloe Jane hit the post from close range. It was after a quality delivery from Lebohang Ramalepe, who was overlapping on the right-hand side. Jane showed great composure with her head but was denied by the woodwork. 

The South Africans were not to be denied 26 minutes into the match, as Linda Matlhalo broke the deadlock with a lovely finish. She took advantage after a mistake by Jamaican defender Konya Plummer.

The Jamaican skipper tried to clear a cross that was floated in by Nothando Vilakazi from the left-hand side, but her clearance lacked power and Matlhalo dispossessed her and found some space before beating Nicole McClure in the Jamaican goal.

Jamaica’s response was immediate. Chinyelu Asher unleashed a bullet from inside the box, but Andile Dlamini in the South African goal was up to the task and produced a magnificent save to keep the visitors at bay.

Plummer almost redeemed herself after her mistake as she made a solo run and passed the ball to Sashana Campbell, who was in space. Campbell, though, ballooned her shot over the bar.

Banyana were playing very structured football by building from the back and using the width to penetrate the visitors. On the other hand, Jamaica were physical and were always a threat in aerial duels.

Banyana almost doubled their lead a few minutes into the second half, but McClure did well to deny Leandra Smeda. 

Desire Ellis’ women were totally in control of the game as they dictated the tempo, but they were undone on a counter-attacker. 

The home side were caught in transition 58 minutes into the game as Jamaica restored parity. It was a bursting run from the powerful built Allyson Swaby, who tormented and mesmerised the Banyana defence with ease before finding the back of the net. 

A minute later, Banyana had an opportunity to take the lead again, but this time around from the spot. Smeda smashed her kick into the woodwork, and Jamaica survived. Toriana Patterson handled the ball inside the box when she tried to block the cross from the right and side where Rhoda Mulaudzi was operating. 

Banyana were asking all sorts of questions as they looked to go back in front in the second half. Coach Ellis decided to introduce her star forward, Thembi Kgatlana, who came in place of Maluadzi.

The atmosphere was also electric at the match venue as the football lovers came in their number to rally behind the women, but unfortunately, they couldn't witness their team triumph.


IOL Sport