Banyana Banyana star had an impressive debut as her side earned a hard-fought comeback victory over their hosts on Saturday
Thembi Kgatlana made her debut appearance in Portugal as SL Benfica claimed secured a shock 3-1 victory over Sporting Braga in the Women’s League Cup on Saturday night.
Coming into Saturday’s contest on the back of a 5-0 triumph at Torreense in Liga BPI, Benfica looked to be heading for the same result after being held to a 2-2 draw at home by Sporting CP.
For the visitors, who boasts of two Africans in Cameroon’s Farida Machia and Nigeria’s Chinaza Uchendu, they were hoping to build on their 4-0 opening victory over CL Benfica in the competition.
Machia set up Hannah Keane to break the deadlock for the hosts after 32 minutes but their celebrations were short-lived when Darlene equalised four minutes later.
After the break, SL Benfica struggled to crack the hosts’ solid defence, opening the door for the introduction of Kgatlana in the 63rd minute, simultaneously with Uchendu for Braga.
The South African made an instant impact as she scored after just three minutes on the field but her effort was ruled out for offside.
In the 70th minute, the visitors finally found a breakthrough as Pauleta scored and Cloe Lacasse later profited from Kgatlana’s tackle inside the penalty area to guarantee the team’s first victory in the tournament.
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While debutant Kgatlana played the final 27 minutes of the encounter in Benfica’s win, Machia and Uchendu also lasted the full duration but could not save their side from the defeat.
The win moved SL Benfica to second in the Cup log with four points after two games but behind leaders, Sporting CP on goal difference despite tied on points, while Braga are third with three points.
In the next round of matches, Sporting CP will welcome Sporting Braga, while SL Benfica will play host to CL Benfica in a local derby.