PARIS (AP) — China is back on track at the Women’s World Cup after a 1-0 win against South Africa on Thursday.
China evened itself with Spain for second place in Group B with three points, and now focuses on its next match and the push to join group leader Germany in the last 16.
Forward Li Ying put 1999 runner-up China ahead in the 40th minute with an opportunist effort. Meeting Zhang Rui’s right-wing cross, she got ahead of her marker and poked the ball into the bottom right corner.
China lost 1-0 to two-time champion Germany in its opening match. South Africa was beaten 3-1 by Spain and now has two losses.
Forward Thembi Kgatlana scored against Spain and was South Africa’s most dangerous player against China, with a chance to equalize in the 76th.
Pouncing on a loose ball inside the left of the penalty area, her shot hit defender Lin Yuping near her right shoulder. There were calls for a penalty but no video review was done.
South Africa is the lowest-ranked team playing, but China worked hard for its win while keeping a close watch on Kgatlana. She made two strong runs in the first half, one down each flank, but her rushed passing let her down each time.
Kgatlana caused problems after the break with her speed and well-timed runs, although she was isolated and not adequately supported.
China will need to improve its finishing against Spain, for the miss of the game came from forward Gu Yasha.
She burst down the left and, after South Africa captain Janine Van Wyk slipped over, smacked the ball so wide it almost went out for a throw-in.
South Africa goalkeeper Kaylin Swart made two smart, late saves, the second a fine finger-tip effort from substitute Yang Li’s curling effort in the 90th.
The 48,000-capacity stadium Parc des Princes stadium was less than half full with 20,011 the attendance given. It has hosted three matches and only France’s opening game against South Korea was full.
Source: FOX Sport