Canada was made to sweat a little bit but Christine Sinclair’s 138th and 139th career goals for the Women’s National Team in the second half gave the Canadians some breathing room as they got their first win at London 2012 with a 3:0 victory over South Africa at the City of Coventry Stadium.
Melissa Tancredi’s early goal seemed to indicate that it would be an easy day for the Canadians but South Africa caused some trouble for Canada and the game was still in doubt into the second half.
Tancredi opened the scoring in the seventh minute with her second goal in as many games. Tancredi was set up on a nice cut-back pass from Diana Matheson who was on the right side. Tancredi got to it first and put the ball home at the far post.
The South Africans started brighter in the second half but Canada settled and in the 58th minute, Lauren Sesselmann crossed the ball from the left side and Sinclair rose to win the header. Her original header went off the crossbar and looked like it bounced over the line. While that goal wasn’t given originally, Sinclair smartly followed the ball in and emphatically smashed it over the goal line.
Sinclair added her second goal in the 86th minute. She was played in through the South African defenders and sped past them before placing her low shot past the onrushing South African goalkeeper Thokozile Mndaweni and inside the right post.
The win for Canada sets up a likely battle against Sweden for the all-important second place position in Group F on Tuesday 31 July in Newcastle, UK.
South Africa's XI featured Thokozile Mndaweni in goal, Amanda Sister, Janine van Wyk, Zamandosi Cele and Refiloe Jane at defence, Kylie Louw, Amanda Dlamini, Gabisile Hlumbane and Mpumi Nyandeni at midfield, and Portia Modise and Andisiwe Mgcoyi up front.
In the second half, South African head coach Joseph Mkhonza replaced Mgcoyi with Sanah Mollo (69’)
Canada's XI featured Karina LeBlanc in goal, Rhian Wilkinson at right back, Carmelina Moscato and Robyn Gayle at centre back, Lauren Sesselmann at left back, and Kaylyn Kyle, Diana Matheson, Desiree Scott, Christine Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt and Melissa Tancredi from the midfield up through to the attack.
In the second half, Canadian coach John Herdman replaced Gayle with Chelsea Stewart (68’), Kyle with Jonelle Filigno (74’) and Tancredi with Brittany Timo (87’).
Source: Canadian women's soccer team