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Motlhalo reflects over uneasy debut at Djurgarden after scoring a brace

The Banyana Banyana midfielder joined Jean Balawo’s side in January and made a positive start as she scored twice against AIK​

Linda Motlhalo has expressed her delight over her impressive on-field start to life at Djurgarden after scoring her first goals for the club against AIK at Skytteholms IP.

Making her first start in all competitions since January, Motlhalo, who came in as substitute struck twice to help Djurgardens defeat local rivals AIK 4-2 in a Swedish Women’s Cup game on Saturday.

It was a moment to savour for the 21-year-old, who has been struggling to adapt to poor weather since moving to the Swedish capital from Chinese outfit Beijing Phoenix last month.

She told the club’s official website about her amazing official debut and scoring a brace for Jean Balawo’s ladies: “As I was sitting on the bench I could see their weaknesses because they are ball orientated.

“I knew that when I came on I had isolated myself from their defence and that is what I did and I managed to score. I am very happy with the win even though it was not an easy one. 

“The first few minutes our timing to defend was off, but as time went on we were able to press as a team and play as a team – that was one of the challenges, but then again it was also our first official matches together and we needed to adjust.”

Having previously played for the USA’s National Women’s Soccer League side Houston Dash and recently the Chinese top-flight, she explains her struggle with the near-freezing weather in Sweden.

“I am so happy I got this chance even though it is very cold here, but I believe as time goes on I will adjust to the weather and atmosphere,” Motlhalo continued.

“I arrived in the middle of the Swedish winter (when temperatures hit -2 degrees celsius) but [the matchday] was not so cold, even though I hear it can get very cold. I don’t like that kind of weather but I will have to adjust.

“I had to wait for four weeks to get my resident card and now that I am finally here I am happy – it is really happening. All I know is that Stockholm can be cold and Djugarden is a very big club and I am looking forward to making new goals.”

With the opening victory putting Djurgarden on top of the Group C table with three points, the South Africa international will be hoping to help her side overcome newcomers Umea on March 14.

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