SA women’s hockey underdogs lead pool after beating Japan

2009-10-14 00:00

THE South African women’s hockey team surprised with an exciting 4-2 victory over tournament favourites Japan at the Champions Challenge in Cape Town.

Japan are ranked sixth in the world and South Africa 12th.

Victory, together with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Chile on day one, sees South Africa through to the medal round.

Also on day two, seventh-ranked Spain were beaten 3-0 by New Zealand (11), while Chile (17) drew 0-0 with world number 13 Azerbaijan.

FIH reports that underdogs South Africa dominated, Jen Wilson netted a penalty corner deflection.

Japan equalised immediately, the Japanese having pulverised Azerbaijan 5-0 in their tournament opener.

South Africa launched pacy counterattacks to great effect, but chances went astray until a Japanese was sin-binned and Tarryn Bright made it 2-1 at another PC.

After the changeover South Africa went 3-1 via a stunning Farah Fredericks field goal and Kate Woods made it a three-goal cushion with another PC.

Mazuki Arai of Japan scored her second but it wasn’t enough for the world number sixes.

On day one, South Africa struggled to shake off the Chileans and it was left to a Kathleen Taylor field goal to separate the sides.

South Africa top Pool A (six points) with Japan (three points) and Chile and Azerbaijan (a point apiece) following.

New Zealand edge Spain on goal difference in Pool B with world number 16s Italy next.

Japan next meet Chile, Italy tackle New Zealand and South Africa face Azerbaijan at 5 pm at Hartleyvale today.

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