Thembi Kgatlana (Getty Images)
Cape Town – Banyana Banyana have opened their FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign with a painful loss to Spain at the Stade Oceane in France on Saturday.
South Africa, who are making their World Cup debut, lost 3-1 to the world No 13 side.
Striker Thembi Kgatlana scored the opening goal of the match as she curled the ball in the left edge of the penalty area and beyond the grasp of Spanish goalkeeper Sandra Panos.
The South Africans led 1-0 at half-time.
Skipper Janine van Wyk was punished for a handball inside the box, which saw striker Jennifer Hermoso convert the penalty and levelled the scores.
Another penalty was awarded to Spain following a VAR review, which saw Nothando Vilakazi booked for the second time and sent off for the first red card of the tournament. Hermoso converted the penalty to put Spain 2-1 up.
Lucia Garcia rounded South Africa’s keeper Andile Dlamini and slotted home to seal Spain the victory 3-1.
Banyana’s next Group B fixture will be on Wednesday, June 12 against China at 21:00 SA time.