The South African women’s had a grand celebration in the dressing room after pulling off a thrilling 3-2 upset to beat Italy and qualify for the Round of 16 stage of the Women’s World Cup 2023. Placed third in Group G before the fixture, South Africa was seemingly out of the next stage in the global tournament.

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But the Banyana Banyana held their own to come back and win the fixture in a stunning injury-time winner by Thembi Kgatlana. The match started with Italy taking an 11th-minute lead thanks to Arianna Caruso’s penalty after Karabo Dhlamini put in a clumsy tackle on Chiara Beccari. 13 minutes later, South Africa found an equaliser with a Benedetta Orsi own-goal. With a gruelling 43-minute deadlock, forward Hildah Magaia found the back of the net for South Africa with a clinical close-in finish. 

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South African hosts rising high, Caruso once again scored to help the Italians salvage a point from the tie. But as it turned out, the game belonged to Banyana Banyana with country legend Thembi Kgatlana smashing the ball past Francesca Durante off Magaia’s assist to complete an incredible comeback. Celebrating this win, the South African women’s team performed traditional dances as the dressing erupted with joy.

Watch the video here:

Speaking about the team’s performance, South coach Desiree Ellis got emotional and called her team a group of warriors. She said, “They fought like warriors. They fought like the heroines that we know that they are. They fought to be historically remembered and they’ve made history not just getting our first win, but going to the round of 16 and that is freaking amazing.”