SA hockey men lose to wilful Canada

2014-03-24 00:00

THE South Africa men’s hockey team did most things right except score and the outcome was a 2-0 win for a dogged Canada after the score was 0-0 at half-time in the playoff for fifth and sixth places at the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia yesterday.

SA were left to reflect on a host of missed goalscoring opportunities while it was the Canadians who made the most of theirs, Adam Froese and Taylor Curran striking in the 62nd and 66th minutes respectively. Four days ago it was SA who had won the round-robin match 3-2 against their fellow Commonwealth Games country.

Welcoming the return of the fit-again London 2012 Olympian Jonty Robinson on the right, captain Wade Paton’s South Africans began at a fast pace, immediately making inroads into the attacking third.

Canada looked to make use of the aerial pass from deep, a trademark of their tournament, and they came back into the game at stages in the first half but the SA defence stood firm, Rhett Halkett a key player.

Taking their free-hits quickly, SA frequently had Canada under pressure and a superb one-two between Brandon Panther and Tim Drummond saw the rangy Panther get in a shot that keeper Antoni Kindler kept out.

Turning around at 0-0, South Africa replaced Pieterse with number two keeper Jacques le Roux and Canadian reserve shot stopper David Carter came on for Kindler.

Much of the action played out in the North Americans’ goalmouth with the Africans enjoying a number of chances, one being an excellent Clint Panther reverse-stick effort from under the muscular midfielder’s shoulder that came agonisingly close.

Halkett made two crucial tackles to stem rare Canada sorties but Keegan Pereira should have made more of a very good chance for the red shirts. The North Americans were eventually rewarded for their endeavour by winning their first PC with 15 minutes left, but the opportunity wasn’t capitalised on.

Another PC followed three minutes later and Le Roux saved consecutive shots from Canada skipper Scott Tupper. Enjoying a new lease on life Canada won a third PC with nine minutes left and Tupper’s pass back to the corner injector was converted at the near post by Player of the Match Adam Froese for 1-0 after 62 minutes. SA earned two consecutive PCs after the re-start, but neither reaped reward and Canada made it 2-0 just four minutes from the end (66th minute) when Taylor Curran’s shot evaded the defence.

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