Thembi Kgatlana’s cucumber-cool effort in added time not only ensured that Banyana Banyana could settle 3-2 with Italy in a World Cup match in Wellington, but also that the team qualified for the tournament’s knock-out rounds.
The result means that the South Africans finish second in Group G and they will next face the Netherlands.
Italy did indeed take the lead early on today after Arianna Caruso neatly finished off her penalty attempt.
The Italians looked keen for football in the opening salvos of the game and their nimble passing ensured they were able to enjoy frequent possession.
But Banyana Banyana gradually found their feet and they put their opponents under intense pressure with their darting runs.
The Italian defense finally showed a crack when Benedetta Orsi out of sheer desperation sent the ball back into her own goal area. However, she had to watch in horror as the ball rolled past Francesca Durante’s tackle against the back of the goal net.
Suddenly the score was 1 apiece and the South Africans got a very welcome injection of momentum.
South Africa are through to the knockout stages for the first time in their history #FIFAWWC history! ????????
— FIFA Women’s World Cup (@FIFAWWC) August 2, 2023
The bonfires burned high in the second half when Hildah Magaia made it 2-1, but Caruso equalized again in the 74th minute.
The game came to an exciting end with both teams enjoying good attacking opportunities.
However, Magaia and Kgatlana worked excellently together in added time to score South Africa’s third goal.
History was indeed made in Wellington.
A goal that will be remembered for a very long time!
A goal that secured Banyana Banyana’s first-ever #FIFAWWC win.
— SuperSport Football ⚽️ (@SSFootball) August 2, 2023
Banyana Banyana: Benedetta Orsi (own goal), Hildah Magaia and Thembi Kgatlana.
Italy: Arianna Caruso (2).
Banyana Banyana: Kaylin Swart (goalkeeper), Noko Matlou, Bambanani Mbane, Bongeka Gamede, Karabo Dhlamini, Lebohang Ramalepe, Robyn Moodaly, Linda Motlhalo, Thembi Kgatlana (captain), Jermaine Seoposenwe and Hildah Magaia.
Group G standings:
- Sweden: 9 points
- South Africa: 4 points
- Italy: 3 points
- Argentina: 1 point.