Sweden barely raise a sweat as they brush past Banyana
Teenager Loreta Kullashi came off the bench to score twice as Sweden weathered an early South African storm before coasting to a 3-0 victory in an international friendly played at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday.
A crowd of around 12‚000 turned out to watch the entertaining fixture that Banyana Banyana used to kick-start their campaign to build towards the 2018 African Women’s Championship to be played in Ghana in November.
The Sweden side is packed with stars in the women’s game who have played at the highest level in Europe and the United States‚ coming into the match ranked 10th in the world compared to Banyana’s 54th place.
Despite this‚ the home side matched them for much of the game‚ but poor control and decision-making proved the difference between the two sides.
Banyana were closing the Swedes down well in the early stages and after Thembi Kgatlana had won possession‚ a sweeping move saw a shooting chance from 12-yards for Sduduzo Dlamini that went just wide.
But Sweden had the lead on 10 minutes when former Paris St Germain and Manchester City midfielder Kosovare Asllani delivered a free-kick into the box and Bambanani Mbane headed the ball into her own net.
Banyana had an excellent chance to equalise when Chantelle Esau provided a perfect defence-splitting ball for Kgatlana to chase‚ but with just Sweden keeper Hilda Carlen to beat‚ she clipped the ball wide.
It was a similar story just before the half-hour mark when Esau again fed Kgatlana with a ball over the top and her pace saw her escape the Swedish defence‚ but this time she blasted the ball over the top from close-range.
Banyana trailed by a goal at halftime‚ but within a minute of the restart were further behind as Sweden substitute Kullashi‚ who only entered the game after the break‚ had the simplest of side-foot finishes as the home defence were cut apart.
Impressive Swedish playmaker Sofia Jakobsson‚ from the same Montpellier club as Keagan Dolly‚ then thundered a shot from 30-yards against the crossbar with Banyana goalkeeper Kaylin Swart beaten all ends up.
A poor giveaway of the ball in the 69th minute allowed the 18-year-old Kullashi to advance forward and shoot past a diving Swart from the edge of the box.
Banyana will be in action in the Cyprus Cup in March‚ where they have drawn Slovakia‚ Hungary and Trinidad & Tobago in their first round pool.
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