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Kgatlana Magic Makes History For South Africa

South Africa and Italy finished their World Cup Group Stage at Wellington Regional Stadium in New Zealand, fighting to secure 2nd place in the group and move on to the Round of 16. A clumsy challenge by Dhlamini would award Italy a penalty which Arianna Caruso would calmly slot into the bottom corner, giving Italy a 1-0 lead in a crucial game to extend their World Cup journey.


South Africa would grab a vital opportunity to equalise from an Italian mistake as a rushed backpass from Orsi to Durante would catch the goalkeeper out and draw the game level in the last part of the first half.


After a back and forth first 20 minutes in the second half, Maigala would give South Africa the lead, and briefly secure 2nd place in the group, until they would eventually award Italy with a corner that would be headed down by Girelli and just tapped across the line by Caruso giving Italy back 2nd place in the group as results in the other game were in their favour.

South Africa had to do a lot of defending in the first five minutes of the game as Italy began on the front foot front the first whistle of the game; Valentina Giacinti received a pass in the box but was marshalled well by the South African defence, who gave Italy more problems in the final third, and not allowing them to get a clear chance to score.


After ten minutes of resilient defending from South Africa, Beccari broke through and, on the edge of the box, was taken out by Dhlamini; after a swift check from VAR, a penalty was awarded, and it would be Arianna Caruso to step up fro Italy and calmly slot the ball into the bottom left corner, giving Italy a lifeline into the knockout stages.


South Africa would get their first chance of the game with Robyn Moodaly, who caught an Italian defence sleeping. She connected almost perfectly with a volley with the outside of her boot that unfortunately clattered the post, leaving Durante stranded in the middle of the goal.


South Africa would continue to pile on the pressure and forced Italy into a mistake as the ball fell to Linardi, who squared it to Orsi, who quickly attempted a back pass to Durante, who wasn't ready, but the ball had too much power on it, and even Durante's slide couldn't clear the ball as it crossed the line giving South Africa a much-needed lifeline.


Italy would be given a great chance at the start of the second half with a free kick in a brilliant area; unfortunately, Boattin couldn't wrap her foot around her shot as it sailed wide of the goal.


Both sides hadn't really capitalised on many more of their chances with a very back and forth 20 minutes fo the second half, until South Africa finally broke down the Italian defence, as the ball was intercepted and would fall to Maigala who would cut into the box and shoot across Durante giving South Africa the lead and snatching second place of the Italians for the mean while.


South Africa created another great counter attacking opportunity and it would be Durante to deny them the chance of a 3rd goal with a low and late dive to deny Kgatlana of a goal.


Italy would be given lifeline in the form of corner as substitute Girelli would rise up and head the ball towards goal were Caruso was waiting to slot the ball across the line and after a lengthy VAR check the goal stood and gave Italy back their spot at 2nd in the group.

Cantore would give Girelli an opportunity to go ahead but her shot wasn't powerful enough and easily saved by Swart. the game would then go into 11 minutes of added time, where early on South Africa were on a deadly counter attack that would result in Kgatlana being passed the ball and slotting it past Durante to give South Africa the lead snatching 2nd place from Italy ultimately would send the Banyana Banyana to the knockout stages for the the first time ever.

What an exceptional turnaround for South Africa, from losing all three games at the last World Cup to qualifying for the knockout stages, Southh Africa were able to build on what the failed to do in the previous game against South Africa and were more clinical with their chances showing a lot of determination despite at many points of the game results not being in their favour.


On the other hand Italy will be very disappointed they probably should of gone through to the knockout stages but ultimately in contrast they they couldn't create enough good chances including Girelli's chance shortly before South Africa scored the winning goal.











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