Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Rio de Janeiro: Goals from Gu Yasha and Tan Ruyin helped China beat South Africa 2-0 on Saturday (local time) and keep alive the Steel Roses’ chances of reaching the Women's Olympic Football Tournament quarter-finals.
The win saw China, now second in Group F, secure a first Olympic victory since their appearance as hosts eight years ago, leaving them with an excellent chance of reaching the knockout stages going into their final winner-takes-all group game against third-placed Sweden - who lost 5-1 to hosts Brazil - on Tuesday.
Despite their eventual capitulation, it was South Africa who looked the livelier in the opening period, with Jermaine Seoposenwe forcing China goalkeeper Zhao Lina into a decent save early on.
The Banyana Banyana dominance continued when captain Janine van Wyk’s dipping effort clipped the bar before going over much to the relief of the Chinese supporters gathered at the Estadio Joao Havelange.
South Africa were, however, made to pay for their profligacy in the 45th minute when Gu, who scored in China last victory at this level - a 2-0 win against Argentina at Beijing 2008 – was given time and space by the South African defence before firing home past custodian Roxane Barker.
China began to control proceedings after the break and, with South Africa constantly pushing forward in search of an equaliser, could have stretched their lead even further had Barker not reacted well to deny substitute Wang Shanshan on two occasions.
Bruno Bini’s charges nevertheless made certain of all three points with just three minutes remaining courtesy of Tan's spectacular effort from distance which deceived Barker before hitting the underside of the bar and bouncing into the net.