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South Africa controversially beat Zambia to reach second consecutive WAFCON final

South Africa overcame Zambia in controversial fashion in Casablanca tonight to seal their place in the Morocco 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations final.

Linda Motlhalo converted a dubious late penalty in the first semi-final to give Banyana Banyana the win and a spot in their second straight final of the continental showpiece.

South Africa were awarded the penalty following the intervention of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after Jermaine Seoposenwe seemingly ran into defender Martha Tembo, who had stood her ground.

Referee Lidya Tafesse had initially ignored the challenge and waved play on, but she was asked to take a review by the VAR.

After a lengthy review that took minutes, Tafesse surprisingly awarded a penalty to South Africa, despite replays showing the Zambia defender touched the ball away before she and the South Africa attacker ran into each other on the edge of the Zambia box.

Motlhalo struck the spot kick unerringly into the net to give Banyana Banyana another shot at their first WAFCON title after they lost in the 2018 final to Nigeria.

South Africa will face Morocco or the Super Falcons in Saturday’s final in Rabat.

Zambia will play the losers of the second semi-final between Morocco and Nigeria in the third-place match on Friday in Casablanca.

The Copper Bullets should be proud of their effort, having outplayed their Southern African rivals for much of the match.

Ochumba Lubandji had a great opportunity to give Zambia the lead inside the first 10 minutes but she fired wide of the target with just goalkeeper Andile Dlamini to beat.

Banyana, without their injured talisman Thembi Kgatlana, had more possession but struggled to break down the Zambia defence.

South Africa were first awarded a penalty by referee Tafesse for a clear foul on Noxolo Cesane, but upon VAR review the decision was changed to a free-kick as the initial contact was outside the box.

Banyana nearly clinched victory just five minutes before full-time when Magala struck a fierce shot from close range after a clever build-up, but goalkeeper Catherine Musonda made a brilliant save.

Still, South Africa profited from the controversial decision in the dying moments of the game to break Zambian hearts.

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