Banyana play well but suffer 2-1 loss against Netherlands

Two first-half goals laid the foundation for the win, with South Africa the better side in the second-half.

Members of the Banyana Banyana team pictured before their match against the Netherlands.Picture: @Banyana_Banyana/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The Netherlands won the Winnie Mandela International Challenge 2-1 against South Africa at the Cape Town Stadium.

Two first-half goals laid the foundation for the win, with South Africa the better side in the second-half.

The match hadn’t even settled down yet and the Dutch were already a goal up after two minutes.

Midfielder Sherida Spitse delicately lobbed Kaylin Swart in between the poles, it was beautifully weighted and deserving of a 1-0 lead.

Just before the 20 minute mark, the Dutch lead was doubled by Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema through a beautiful left footed strike which never left the grass.

South Africa were not being outplayed by any stretch, however, the Netherlands took their chances and made it count which saw them 2-0 up in an evenly contested match.

The visitors had size, power and conditioning over their hosts. This didn’t stop the South Africans from playing to their strengths with the ball at their feet.

They kept the home fans entertained, with some neat exchanges, but unfortunately could not find an opening in the Dutch box.

That would change when the Netherlands defence made an errant pass after 33 minutes which African Player of the Year Thembi Kgatlana pounced on.

She was one in one with the keeper and showed her class by rounding the goalkeeper and tapping in. A cool finish showcasing a woman at the top of her game.

The Dutch took a 2-1 lead into the half time break.

South Africa clearly buoyed by their first-half goal came out in search of the equalizer.

The second-half struggled to provide clear cut chances initially, but South Africa had a clear plan to get their speedy forwards in behind the physical Netherlands defence.

Then, midway through the half, a big chance fell for Jermaine Seoposenwe - she was one on one with the keeper but could only manage a tame effort which the goalkeeper saved comfortably. It should have been 2-2 but South Africa still trailed by the one goal.

Shortly after that, Kgatlana had an effort from close range go just wide. It was another chance for Banyana who were clearly the better and more enterprising side in the second stanza.

Unfortunately, Coach Desiree Ellis gameplan of getting the behind the Dutch defence was correct, the forwards failed to beat the offside trap when they could have been in on goal.

The match ended 2-1 in favour if the 2017 European Champions, however South Africa would have been satisfied with their match despite the result. Many work-ons for the young team but also a number of positives to hold on to.

Banyana will face Sweden, ranked ninth, on Wednesday in Cape Town.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)