After failing to protect a lead and falling to defeat in their first match, a first-ever point at the FIFA Women’s World Cup for South Africa in their 2-2 draw with Argentina was a bittersweet result on Friday. Thembi Kgatlana set up the opener for Banyana Banyana and also scored but Argentina produced a magical second half rally to share the spoils. Banyana now need a victory in their final Group G fixture against Italy on Wednesday.
They may have fell to defeat in their opening match against European powerhouse Sweden but South Africa carried the momentum from a positive performance into Friday’s clash. Banyana Banyana got away with a poorly defended corner kick in the opening quarter hour but sprung to life and found the opening goal shortly after thirty minutes.
An excellent pass from midfield by Linda Motlhalo sent Thembi Kgatlana in behind the defense with no Argentine defender around her. South Africa’s attacking star patiently waited for Motlhalo’s run and crossed to her for an easy finish as the Argentine defense stood around waiting for an offside call. The flag did go up to rule Kgatlana offside but a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review confirmed the goal.
After creating South Africa’s first two goals of the tournament it was Kgatlana’s turn to find the net, doubling the lead in the 66th minute. Jermaine Seoposenwe dispossessed Argentina’s Aldana Cometti on the right wing and crossed for Kgatlana to fire her finish into the roof of the net. However the Argentine women showed fight and pulled one back through Sophia Braun’s hard shot from distance that was too much for Banyana goalkeeper Kaylin Swart in the 74th minute.
Less than five minutes later it was level and South Africa had once again failed to protect a lead. A cross was swung in from the right wing by Yamila Rodríguez and a perfect header from Romina Núñez skipped by the diving Swart. It was a crushing blow for Banyana Banyana who will now need to rally themselves for a must-win clash with Italy.
Highlights from the match are below.