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HISTORY! Hildah Magaia, Thembi Kgatlana fire Banyana into last 16 at Fifa World Cup

Banyana Banyana etched their name in to history books when they reached the last 16 of the Fifa World Cup for the very first time after beating Italy 3-2 in Wellington on Wednesday.

With this win, which was their first at the global showpiece, Banyana finished second in Group G to join Sweden in the last 16 where they’ll face the winners of Group E.

Both teams needed a positive result coming into the match, Banyana having squandered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Argentina on Friday, while Italy were beaten 5-0 by Sweden on Saturday.
Desiree Ellis’ Banyana, who were without injured captain Refiloe Jane were on the back foot early on.

In the 11th minute Karabo Dhlamini fouled Chira Beccari inside the box, resulting in a penalty for Le Azzurre, which Arianna Caruso slotted past a helpless Kaylin Swart.

That early setback meant that SA had to dig deep if they were to get the win they needed. And they came out of the blocks, launching attack after attack.

Captain Thembi Kgatlana tested the waters first after hitting a ball high and wide of the target following a poor clearance from the Italians’ defence.

Robyn Moodlay came close to equalising for Banyana, but her volley rattled the upright after another poor clearance fell to her path following a square ball from Dhlamini.

Banyana finally drew level after an under-pressure Benedetta Orsi unfortunately hit a back pass too hard and the ball rolled past her own goalkeeper Francesca Durante and into the back of the net.

But soon thereafter, Le Azzurre nearly restored their lead after Beccari rose high in the box to connect with a corner kick, which she headed against the upright.

With the scoreline favouring the Italians at the break, Banyana had to put their best foot forward from the outset in the second half to search for goals.

And after a timely save from Swart early in the second half, striker Hildah Magaia found the lead for Banyana after an assist from Kgatlana inside the box.

But that was shortlived as Caruso punished Banyana’s sloppiness in defence with a glancing header from a corner kick late in the game.
In stoppage time, though, Banyana proved their prowess as Kgatlana, benefiting from a Magaia assist, sent the African Champions to the promised land with a cool tap-in! -IOL