Yuika Sugasawa of Japan celebrates her goal during their International Women Friendly match against South Africa at Kitakyushu Stadium in Japan on Sunday. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

FUKUOKA – A gallant Banyana Banyana were made to pay for two unforced errors as they lost 2-0 to hosts Japan in a women's international friendly in Fukuoka, Japan, on Sunday.

On the back of a heavy travelling schedule, Banyana Banyana could have salvaged a share of the spoils in the second half but twice star striker Thembi Kgatlana was foiled. First by the woodwork and then she was bundled off the ball when she was going in for the kill.

Two mistakes ultimately cost the visitors who came back strongly in the second half when they took the fight to the opponents.

Japan took the lead in the 20th minute, at a time when the game was finely poised when hardworking goalkeeper Andile Dlamini fumbled a harmless looking cross and striker Saki Kumagai headed home.

In the 31st minute, Leandra Smeda who earned her 100th cap put Kgatlana through but her pass was too heavy.

With the visitors searching for the equaliser, they were dealt another blow when defender Lebohang Ramalepe lost possession inside her own area. Yuika Sugasawa pounced and beat Dlamini with an audacious lob to make the scoreline 2-0 just before halftime.

The entire second half was a ding dong affair and action swung from one end to the other but there were no further goals in the match.

Banyana Banyana will play Japan again in an unofficial practice game at the same venue on Monday before flying back home on Tuesday and landing at ORTambo Airport on Wednesday morning.

African News Agency (ANA)