China PR kept their hopes of reaching the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 knockout stages alive with a 2-0 victory over South Africa at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, courtesy of Gu Yasha’s effort in first half stoppage time and Tan Ruyin’s spectacular late strike from distance.
South Africa looked the livelier of the sides in the opening period. Indeed, in the opening seconds, Jermaine Seoposenwe was found inside the Chinese penalty area, cutting past Zhao Rong before hitting a left-footed shot at Zhao Lina, who turned the ball behind.
Banyana Banyana were certainly in the ascendancy, and came close to taking the lead through their skipper Janine van Wyk. A mix-up in the China PR defence saw Rong collect the ball from a Dongna backpass. At the second attempt, after her initial strike from the indirect free-kick was blocked by the wall, Van Wyk hit a dipping effort that hit the crossbar and went over.
South Africa were made to rue their missed opportunities. Yasha, who scored in China PR’s last victory at this level – a 2-0 win against Argentina at Beijing 2008 – found herself in space on the left-hand side of the South African penalty area and slotted home, despite the best efforts of Barker.
After the break, China retained more of the ball and found gaps in the South Africa defence with Vera Pauw’s side going in search of an equaliser. Wang Shanshan found Roxanne Barker in fine form on two occasions, although the Steel Roses forward should have done better with both clear-cut opportunities.
Ruyin then made sure of the three points with an audacious effort from distance. The No8 received the ball inside the centre circle before taking a touch and unleashing a high dipping shot at goal, which deceived Barker before hitting the crossbar and bouncing into the net.
The win saw the Chinese secured their first Olympic victory since their appearance as hosts eight years ago, leaving them with a chance of reaching the knockout stages going into their final game against Sweden on Tuesday. South Africa, meanwhile, await the outcome of Brazil’s game against Sweden, and face an uphill task against the hosts on Group E’s final matchday.
Source: Confederation of African Football.