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South Africa benefits from questionable VAR call, defeats Zambia for spot in 2022 WAFCON final

A penalty kick conversion from Linda Motlhalo in second half stoppage time lifted South Africa to a 1-0 victory over regional rivals Zambia to send Banyana Banyana through to the final of the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations on Monday. An evenly matched duel appeared to be heading for extra time but Zambia defender Martha Tembo obstructed Banyana forward Jermaine Seoposenwe just inside the penalty area and the Video Assistant Referee determined a foul had been committed, leading to Motlhalo’s spot kick. South Africa awaits the winner between Nigeria and hosts Morocco in the final on Saturday.

South Africa controlled the majority of possession throughout the match but it meant little in the first half as Zambia looked more dangerous with direct attacks. Rapid movement down the left flank created the match’s first opportunity for Zambia within the opening ten minutes but after Grace Chanda sent in an excellent cross, Ochumba Oseke could not get her feet right and the ball bounced off her thigh and harmlessly wide. Soon after Chanda had her own clean look on goal following a poor turnover by the South African defense but her shot was right at keeper Andile Dlamini.

Banyana Banyana came out more inspired in the second half and appeared to have a penalty kick awarded on the hour mark when Seoposenwe was taken down but VAR determined the foul was just outside the box before Seoposenwe’s free kick deflected off the wall and out of play. The suspense only increased by the final stretch with Chanda’s 83rd minute long range effort going just wide of a diving Dlamini and her goal before Zambia keeper Catherine Musonda came up with an important reaction save on the other end to keep the match scoreless.

The crucial moment came in the 89th minute when an incisive pass from South Africa’s Noxolo Cesane found Seoposenwe who darted inside and went down as she attempted to go by Tembo. Initially not called a foul, the Video Assistant Referee questionably determined that a penalty be awarded even though it appeared that Tembo could not avoid the collision and had gotten a touch to the ball on Seoposenwe’s dribble attempt. Motlaho made no mistake on the spot kick and fired it by a diving Musonda to send Banyana Banyana to their sixth WAFCON final, where they have yet to finish the job.

Highlights from the match are below.

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