SA hockey men book semis after emphatic victory

2013-03-06 00:00

THE South Africa men’s hockey team beat Chile 6-1 after leading 3-0 at half time in the winner-takes-all final round of the World League Round 2 tournament at the Deodoro in Rio de Janeiro yesterday.

With Argentina’s 4-2 win over SA ensuring their qualification for the World League semi-finals in June, SA and Chile both needed victory to qualify for the World League semi-finals in Malaysia in June. The South Africans did the business.

Good early build-up saw Taine Paton heavily tackled in the strike zone and SA won the first penalty corner. Paton injected the corner from the baseline, captain Rhett Halkett trapped the ball at the top of the strike zone, Matt Guise-Brown sent a low drag-flick, which goalkeeper Adrian Henriquez saved, but Miguel da Graca slapped in the rebound for SA to go 1-0 up in the fourth minute.

Chile hit back with two PCs, the latter of which keeper Rassie Pieterse made a brilliant save low to his right from a Felipe Eggers rocket. In the 13th, Paton and Pierre de Voux combined up the right flank to win SA’s second PC, which they fluffed.

In the 21st, Tim Drummond fed Lloyd Norris-Jones whose sizzling shot was stopped by Henriquez in goal.

The FIH president Leandro Negre, CEO Kerry Fairweather, and David Luck, director of sport at the FIH, with the Rio 2016 organising committee, were visiting the venue. But it was bad luck for SA in the 25th minute as Julian Hykes missed the goal with the ’keeper to beat, perhaps having too much time on his hands. A minute later Clint Panther crossed but there was no one there to deflect in.

Chile gave SA an awkward moment at the other end in the 28th minute but a minute later Jonty Robinson engineered another PC with the help of De Voux. Robinson injected, Drummond trapped and Guise-Brown sent a stunning drag-flick that bulged the net after 30 minutes (2-0).

Soon after, Norris-Jones got in a reverse-stick shot that Henriquez saved but with one minute to half time Robinson dispossessed a Chilean defender and smashed in SA’s third goal for 3-0 after 34 minutes and the half-time score.

SA got in three shots after the re-start before Da Graca intercepted a back pass and drilled into the backboard for 4-0 after 40 minutes.

Chile won two PCs as they fought to get back into the game and Jonty Robinson was sent to the sin-bin for dissent, and Alexis Berczely deflected in at the far post after 47 minutes (4-1).

Two more players were sent to the sin-bin as tempers boiled over.

Eggers came close for Chile before Lloyd Norris-Jones went on a solo run from the halfway line and his sheer pace and deadly finish buried the South Americans for good in the 58th minute, with 12 minutes left in the match (5-1).

In the 67th minute Norris-Jones made it 6-1 for SA to advance to the World League semi-finals.

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