Match 9 - Sat 28 July, 15:45, Coventry
Canada end Banyana’s Olympic dreams
Amanda Dlamini of South Africa
After a disappointing start to their opening games against Japan and Sweden, both Canada and South Africa were in search of a win in order to keep their chances of survival in the Olympics alive.
However it didn’t go the way Banyana Banyana had hoped when they fell behind just six minutes into the game. Christine Sinclair crossed a low ball into the box, from the right flank, but South Africa’s defence failed to keep it off the approaching Melissa Tancredi, whose light touch directed it into the back of the net.
Ten minutes later Canada came close to adding their second when Rhian Wilkinson’s cross was punched out by the South African goalkeeper.
Banyana Banyana had half a chance when Andisiwe Mgcoyi got the better of Carmeline Moscato, to round her on the 21st minute, but the Canadian shot-stopper did well enough.
Indecisive defending by Robyn Gayle and Karina LeBlanc caused confusion inside the Canadian box but Nompumelelo Nyandeni wasn’t quick enough to seize the opportunity as the ball was kicked over the bar for a corner.
South Africa came out with determination after the restart, when Portia Modise’s attempt at goal went skew at the near post and over the frame of Le Blanc’s goal, while Nyandeni came close to scoring directly off a corner in the 48th minute.
Modise became the first player booked in the 52nd minute for a needless handball challenge in preventing Canada from taking a fre-kick.
Despite the early pressure from Banyana Banyana, Canada doubled their lead just before the hour mark. Even with two markers on her, Christine Sinclair managed to rise up above her opponents and header the ball at goal. The initial ball hit the crossbar and bounced back out but Sinclair was there to push it back into the net.
Amanda Sister did well to prevent a third conceded goal when she closed down a loose ball laid on to Sinclair near the goal mouth.
Chelsea Stewart replaced Gayle in the 67th minute after the defender pulled up with a hamstring injury, while nervy moments struck, ten minutes later, when Philadelphia Mndaweni received medical attention for a shoulder injury. Mndaweni continued to play.
A sigh of relief was released by the South African girls when Diana Matheson’s powerful distance shot hit the crossbar once again, with eight minutes remaining.
Sinclair sealed the deal with four minutes to go when Sinclair broke the offside trap to slice a low ball into the back of the net to make it 3-0 and eliminate South Africa from the Olympics.