Cape Town - Banyana Banyana lost 1-0 to China in their second Group B match at the FIFA Women's World Cup in France on Thursday night.
A Li Ying goal in the 40th minute of the first half was enough to secure a Chinese victory but South Africa gave a good account of themselves, with a number of attempts on goal and around 47% possession.
But the former runners-up deserved their victory, played out before just over 20 000 fans at the Parc des Princes, with South Africa lacking quality in the final third despite their efforts.
"This victory belongs to all the players, they deserve it. There will be more battles to come and I hope we can last as long as possible in this tournament," said China coach Jia Xiuquan.
South Africa lost their opening match of the tournament, going down 3-1 to Spain despite taking the lead through a stunning goal by Thembi Kgatlana.
"I am very proud of the team," said Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis. "Obviously
the result is not what we wanted but we will dust ourselves off and
start looking forward. Each and every player in the squad can really pat
themselves on the back for today's performance."
Banyana have one game left in Group B against leaders Germany who are undefeated.
That takes place on Monday, June 17 at 18:00 (SA time).