South Africa’s women’s football team fell to narrow 1-0 loss at the hands of Sweden in their opening Group E match at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday evening.
Banyana nearly found themselves on the back foot five minutes into the game when Sofia Jakobsson hit the crossbar with goalkeeper Roxanne Barker well beaten.
Both teams hardly created goalscoring chances as they struggled to keep possession in the final third.
With the half characterised by Swedish dominance, though they lacked the pace and precision to open up South Africa’s resilient defence.
Vera Pauw’s side remained on the back foot but grew in confidence as the game progressed. However, they were dealt a major blow when Shiwe Nongwanya was forced off with an injury to her right foot and Linda Motlhalo had to come off the bench in the 40th minute.
Swedish control continued in the second half as they pressed on, with Fridolina Rolfö firing over the bar with a vicious shot.
Just as South Africa started looking dangerous, Sweden finally went ahead on 75 minutes through a calamitous mistake from Barker.
They were undone by the conceding of a wasteful corner and then two errors within seconds from Barker which led to her scoring an own goal.
The South Africans never recovered from the setback, and despite creating a few half-chances in the remaining 15 minutes of the game, Sweden held on for an important win.