SA hockey men thump Japan 4-1

2013-06-28 00:00

THE South Africa men’s hockey team won their World League semi-final event practice game against Japan 4-1 in Johor, Malaysia last night after leading 1-0 at half time.

The match consisted of two 30-minute halves and SA scored in the first half through a penalty corner converted by team captain Austin Smith.

“We were a little rusty, having played our last game on June 11, some two weeks ago, and having only arrived in Johor on Tuesday,” said SA head coach Charlie Pereira yesterday.

“It took us 30 minutes to get going and my plea at the break was to control the game and be patient. We needed to execute better in the final third, as turnover ball was hurting us, with Japan counter­attacking and forcing us to chase a long way.”

Pereira said the second half was much better as SA dominated possession and field position and netted two cracking field goals through Clinton Panther and Lloyd Norris-Jones before Smith sealed the game with another penalty corner.

“[Midfielder] Wade Paton suffered a freakish injury and was forced to withdraw from the game,” said Pereira.

“With [striker] Julian Hykes also missing due to a chest infection, we had to reshuffle the starting line-up and share the workload among 14 [field] players rather than 16. That makes our performance in the second half even more special and allowed the players to get valuable match practice.”

World number 12 South Africa’s opening game in Pool B is against world number four England at 3 pm on Saturday and will be live on SuperSport 7.

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