Thembi Kgatlana was named the Most Valuable Player as curtains came down on the 2018 Cyprus Women’s Cup on Wednesday, 7 March.
Kgatlana featured in all South Africa matches in the tournament, including the last tie, a 2–1 lose to Belgium in the fifth-place match.
The defeat was South Africa’s first in the tournament after finishing the group stage unbeaten and without conceding a goal.
Banyana Banyana were the better side in the first minutes of the game and deservedly took the lead in the 18th minute.
Noko Matlou’s shot took a deflection into the net to hand the former Africa Women’s Player of the Year her 64th international goal in her 140th cap.
This was Matlou’s first start up front in years, after switching from attack to defence.
Belgium crawled back into the match and found the equaliser in the 33rd minute when Wolfsburg forward Tessa Wullaert curled home a beauty.
Lebohang Ramalepe was swiftly brought in for Regina Mogolola soon thereafter to strengthen Banyana Banyana’s defence.
An end-to-end game ensued and South Africa were once again quicker out of the blocks after the breather.
Skipper Janine Van Wyk, Matlou and Seoposenwe all tested the Belgium defence in quick succession but keeper Nicky Evrard pulled brilliant saves to keep them at bay.
Like in the first half, Belgium eventually found their footing, dictating play in the final quarter hour of the match.
Four minutes to time, Daniels Yana nodded home the winner to lift Belgium to a fifth-place finish forcing South Africa to settle for sixth.
The score also avenged Red Flames’ 1–0 defeat in the 2015 Cyprus Cup group stage, the last time these two sides met.
The 2017 Algarve Cup champions Spain beat Italy 2–0 in the title-decider pitting two first-time finalists to add the 2018 Cyprus Women’s Cup title to their growing cabinet.
Two second half goals by Amanda Sampedro and Patri Guijjaro and great saves by custodian Lola Gallardo fired Spain to their first ever Cyprus Cup title.
The Spaniards claimed the title in majestic fashion, undefeated and without conceding a single goal.
Algarve Cup finalists Netherlands and Sweden were named the Cup winners after their match was cancelled due to heavy downpour.
Final Day Results
11th/12th: Hungary 0–2 Finland
9th/10th: Slovakia 2–5 Czech Republic
7th/8th: Wales 1–1 (3–2) Austria
5th/6th: South Africa 1–2 Belgium
3rd/4th: Korea DPR 2–1 Switzerland
3) Korea DPR
6) South Africa
9) Czech Republic
RELATED: Complete Cyprus Cup 2018 results