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Sweden 2-1 South Africa: Ilestedt nets late winner in the rain
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Sweden left it late to secure victory (John Cowpland/AP)
Sweden left it late to secure victory (John Cowpland/AP)

Amanda Ilestedt headed a late winner as Sweden came from behind to beat South Africa 2-1 in their World Cup opener at a rain-sodden Wellington Regional Stadium.

A major upset was on when Hildah Magaia’s finish put South Africa, 51 spots lower than third-ranked Sweden in the world rankings, in front three minutes into the second half.

But Sweden, who finished third at the 2019 World Cup, managed to turn things around, with Fridolina Rolfo equalising in the 65th minute and new Arsenal signing Ilestedt then nodding home in the 90th.

Sweden moved to the top of Group G as South Africa’s wait for their first point at a World Cup – having lost each of their group games in their debut campaign at France 2019 – went on.

The first half saw Sweden struggle to threaten for most of the time despite having the majority of the ball, while their opponents had some promising moments at the other end, with Thembi Kgatlana looking lively for the African champions.

The closing stages then saw the Swedes go close as Ilestedt sent one header wide and another over and Elin Rubensson curled just wide of the top corner.

Undeterred, South Africa subsequently grabbed the lead shortly after the break when Kgatlana got the better of Ilestedt on the left side of the box and took a shot, Zecira Musovic parried and Magaia knocked the ball in on the follow-up.

Having been bundled over by Jonna Andersson as she scored and was left hurt, Magaia had to come off eight minutes later.

Kgatlana subsequently brought a save out of Musovic, but the flag was up for offside, and soon after Sweden were back on level terms as Johanna Rytting Kaneryd crossed from the right and the ball went in via touches off Rolfo and South Africa defender Lebohang Ramalepe.

South Africa were then denied a historic point in the final stages as Ilestedt connected with a corner to send the ball past Kaylin Swart.


Women's World CupSweden WSouth Africa W
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