South Africa have created history by qualifying for the knockout stages of the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time after stunning Italy with a stoppage-time winner in their decisive group G match, Reelradio.com.ng reports.
Captain Thembi Kgatlana was the hero for Bayana Bayana, firing the ball past goalkeeper Francesca Durante in the 92nd minute to complete a dramatic 3-2 comeback win at Wellington Regional Stadium.
South Africa had never won a World Cup match and they were minutes away from being eliminated until Hildah Maiaga skipped into the penalty area and squared a ball for Kgatlana to tap in, leaving Italy stunned.
With a win certain to guarantee their place in the knockout rounds, Italy got off to the perfect start when they were awarded a penalty as Karabo Dhlamini caught the heels of teenager Chiara Beccari.
Referee Maria Carvajal awarded a free-kick, but a swift video assistant referee intervention concluded the foul had been committed inside the penalty area and Caruso calmly converted from the spot to put Italy in command of their World Cup future.
However, South Africa were gifted a leveller as Benedetta Orsi, playing her first World Cup match, was left red-faced when she hit a no-look back pass to an unexpectant Francesca Durante and it rolled into her own net.
Desiree Ellis’ side burst into the lead when Kgatlana slipped a clever ball through the Italy defence to put Hildah Magaia through on goal and she lifted it over Durante.
VAR seemed like it may have come to South Africa’s rescue when Caruso equalised from a corner, but after a lengthy delay the goal was given.
Italy hearts were broken when Magaia stepped through the defence and squared it Kgatlana, who made no mistake in finding the back of the net.
— Banyana_Banyana (@Banyana_Banyana) August 2, 2023