South Africa ran out as comfortable winners over Burundi and become the first team from group C to qualify for the quarter-finals. But despite the three points, it was a very wasteful Banyana that should have scored plenty more.
Story of the match
South Africa starting creating chances as early as the second minute, when Kgatlana volleyed over from close range. Despite having more shots and more shots on target than any other team in the tournament, they were being frustrated by a combination of brave defending and complacent attacking.
They broke down the Burundi defence finally when Kgatlana capped off a clean counter attack with a cool finish. But Banyana’s travails in front of goal continued.
And on the half-hour mark it was Burundi that found themselves a goal. A superb team goal starting with left back Saffira Guinand was finished by Aniella Uwimana after a thrilling run from Asha Djafari.
But the parity between the sides was not to last. Just two minutes later, Banyana retook the lead, Amogelang finishing off a sharp team move.
South Africa continued to create chances a plenty without scoring. Kgatlana missed the pick of the bunch when she rounded Jeanine Irakoze but her casual finish allowed for Diane Irankunda to make a brilliant goal line clearance.
After a number of chances for the 2018 finalists, Jermaine Seoposenwe was brought down inside the box for a penalty. But Irakoze guessed right and saved the effort leaving Banyana only up 2-1 at half time.
After the break South Africa continued to create chances at will, but their end product was still lacking.
It took a second penalty, this time taken by Linda Motlhalo for the South Africans to finally get their two goal cushion.
But the South African’s profligacy continued, this time Motlhalo rounded the keeper and missed in near identical fashion to Kgatlana earlier. Despite having a comfortable lead, Desiree Ellis’ players were visibly frustrated with their inability to score.
Souuth Africa were even given a hand when Burundi were reduced to 10 players. Substitute Annociate Nshirimana given her marching orders for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Even after the sending off South Africa were unable to score leaving Burundi with a respectable 3-1 loss in a match that was expected to be much worse.
For Banyana, they got the three points and a comfortable victory while rotating the squad slightly. But coach Ellis struck a disgruntled figure on her bench and will no doubt be disappointed with the performance and goal conceded.
Stand out player
It is not often that a keeper concedes three goals and still is the best player. But Jeanine Irakoze was often on a one woman mission to keep the South Africans out of her goal. She saved a penalty and made more saves in the match than any other keeper so far in the tournament.
Time and time again she was called upon and she was more than up for the task. Two of the goals she conceded were essentially tap ins from squared passes in the 6-yard box and the other was a penalty.
She can hold her head high for keeping her team in the game for far longer than they deserved to be, and even when the game was running away from the Swallow she kept the score respectable.
South Africa – Dlamini, Ramalede, Gamede, Matlou, Dhlamini, Cesane, Jane, Motau, Seoposenwe, Kgatlana, Moodaly
Substitutes – Motlhalo, Holweni, Biyana, Majiya, Kgadiete
Burundi – Irakoze, Irankunda, Irankunda, Uwimana, Niuonkuru, Djafari,Ineza, Bukuru, Uwineza, Guinand, Niyomwungere
Substitutes – Nshirimana, Bukuru, Keza