2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup: Argentina rally to hold South Africa
Argentina stormed home to claim a 2-2 draw with South Africa in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup at Forsyth Barr Stadium in New Zealand on Friday.
Banyana Banyana scored in either half through Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana, and looked comfortable before Argentina scored twice in five minutes.
Sophia Braun got the first with a superb strike, before a glancing header from Romina Nunez restored parity.
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Both sides pushed for a late winner, but a point was fair value.
Linda Motlhalo’s goal was originally ruled offside, but VAR eventually overturned the decision to the delight of Dunedin Stadium.
Thembi Kgatlana was incredibly influential for Banyana Banyana, setting up the first and scoring the second.
But Argentina came roaring back, with Braun’s stunning strike from 25 metres out giving her side a chance.
Five minutes later, Nunez’s glancing header levelled the scores.
South Africa’s first Women’s World Cup point came at a cost, with captain Refiloe Jane stretchered off with an ankle injury.
The team will also be without Kholosa Biyana for their final Group G match after she received her second yellow card of the tournament.
Both teams live to fight another day, but will need results to go their way for them to progress to the last 16.
Desiree Ellis, South Africa coach rued her team’s missed goal scoring opportunities, admitting that their decision-making in the final third was poor.
“We need to show a little bit of extra effort and take our chances. It’s the little details. We had the chance to win this game and, again, we just gave it away.
“We created many opportunities. But [before the game] we spoke about decision-making and the importance of playing a pass to someone in a better position and, at times, we did not do that.
“When you create beautiful chances and don’t put them away, the result can end up like this,” she said.
Thembi Kgatlana, South Africa striker expressed disappointment at the result, adding that the team lost focus at crucial moments in the game.
“We had the game in our pocket but we gave away two easy goals. That’s something we’ll need to improve going into our next match.
“We need to keep 100 per cent focus, whether we are leading or not, and show a very good mentality until the referee blows the final whistle.
“Today, we made life difficult for ourselves,” she said.
Sophia Braun, Argentina defender expressed delight at the result and attributed their hard-fought draw to the team’s never-die-spirit.
“I’m very proud of how we came back. We never gave up. Obviously we didn’t start the way we wanted to but we showed a lot of heart and fight to claw our way back.
“This was a game we wanted to win but I’m proud of the team. We still have a lot to play for and I’m excited.
“We can’t wait for the next game against Sweden. That’s going to be a battle, they all are, but we’re ready for it,” she said.