Durban — Thembi Kgatlana rounded off the scoring as Banyana Banyana put one foot in African Women Cup of Nations (Awcon) qualification with a 2-0 victory against Algeria at the Orlando Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Coach Desiree Ellis’ side took a deserved lead through a set-piece in the 40th minute.
Hilda Magaia rose highest in a packed penalty area and guided the ball into goalkeeper Chloe Yamina's open net to give the home side the breakthrough.
Banyana’s shining star, Thembi grabbed the second and final goal of the match in the 90th minute.
Second half substitute Gabriel Salgado broke down the wing of the Algeria defence and found Kgatlana with a pinpoint cross at the far post, the ex African player of year smashed her effort first time and gave the home side a 2-0 cushion.
The national women’s team lined up without inspirational captain, Janine Van Wyk but the return of Kgatlana, Refiloe Jane and Noko Matlou, who was making her 160th appearance, gave the home side an added boost in quality.
After Banyana dominated possession in the opening exchanges, the away side almost took a surprising lead in the 6th minute.
After enterprising work by Metz fullback, Belkhiter Morgan, she did incredibly well to float a ball into the feet of number 10 , Merrouche Imene who subsequently miscued her efford wide with just the goalkeeper, Andile Dlamini, to beat.
Banyana’s best chance of the half came in the 32nd minute after confusion in the Algeria box.
Fullback, Lebohang Ramalepe floated a ball into the penalty area, after confusion between the two Algeria centre backs, the ball fell onto the feet of Jane. The AC Milan midfielder failed to capitalise as she shanked a shot wide of goal with the goalkeeper to beat.
It was business as usual for Banyana as they dominated a very aggressive first half of play, Kholose Biyana and Jane proving instrumental.
Kgatlana should’ve doubled Banyana’s lead in the first minute of the second half.
The Atletico Madrid forward was delightfully played through the Tennecs defence, however a moment of hesitation allowed the goalkeeper ,Yamina, to get close to her and thereafter blocked her attempt to slide in through her legs.
Yamina certainly had a busy day at the ofcourse, proving to be the last line on a number of occasions as Banyana probed for the goal that would give them breathing room.
Algeria were almost gifted a way back into the match by an error from Bafana goalkeeper Dlamini.
The Sundowns keeper dallied on the ball as the Algerian attack closed her down, an attempted clearance fell to the feet of the away side with the goal gaping but Bambanani Mbane was back quickly enough to block the subsequent shot.
Banyana are headed into their next game with a bounce in their step as a 2-0 cushion that will surely afford them the right level of confidence ahead of their 2nd leg in 5 days time away in Algeria.