Late penalty sinks Twiga

Twiga Stars striker Mwanahamisi Shurua covers her face in frustration after picking a second yellow to get marching orders during African Nations Cup opener for ladies in Johannesburg yesterday. Sophia Mwasikili’s unfortunate handball six minutes to time gave South Africa a breathing space to win the African Nations Cup opener by 2-1 goals in a match played at the Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton yesterday. After working tirelessly to thwart all goal attempts by the host side that was playing under pressure, Mwasikili was hit by a goal-bound volley by substitute Janine van Wyk as Cameroon referee Therese Neguel pointed for the spot kick. Barely two minutes later Twiga Stars suffered a huge blow as striker Mwanahamisi Shurua was sent off for conceding the second yellow card as the referee punished her for alleged simulation when he was brought down by a defender. Shurua shed tears as she was sent off while Twiga Stars were on their way to the first match loss as time was running unfriendly to them. It was the host side that broke the deadlock through Popela Mamphase after 34 minutes when she cashed in Twiga Stars’ defensive mix up. Twiga Stars played all their hearts out as they came back into the game through Ester Chabruma when she connected home penetration pass by Shurua, three minutes to half time mark. The teams were tied at 1-1 as the second half got underway. Twiga Stars pushed hard to score but they lost steam as the host side increased pressure to launch raids. The Tanzanian women side lost midfield possession as tide of the game was rising to overwork the defenders. The game was almost heading to a 1-1 draw but the host side moved in desperately in search of the killer goal with lady luck smiling for them. Goalkeeper Fatuma Omari made several spectacular saves to thwart South African attacks until the fateful penalty separated the teams. It took Twiga Stars striker 15 minutes to make meaningful attacks after a series of trials by the home side. Noko Matlau rounded off Mwasikili and Fatuma Khatibu only to shoot wide. Two minutes later Noko Matlau’s goal-bound shot hit a cross bar before Twiga Stars alert goalkeeper Omari made a timely clearance. Striker Asha Rashid broke loose from South African defenders only to shoot straight to the hands of their custodian Thoko Mndaweni after 15 minutes. Line-ups: Twiga stars: Fatuma Omary, Sophia Mwasikili, Fatuma Khatib, Pulkeria Chalaji, Hellen Peter, Mwajuma Abdallah, Etoe Mlezi/ Neema Kuga (77), Eshter Chabruma, Fatuma Bushiri, Mwanahamisi Shurua and Asha Rashid. Banyana Banyana: Thoko Mndaweni, Simphiwe Masina, Simphiwe Dludlu, Janine van Wyk, Nthabeleng Modiko, Matilja Elson, Mary Ntesweng, Skiti Nocawe, Mamelo Makhabae, Noko Matlau and Mamphase Popela. SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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