South Africa men’s hockey team thump China in fifth place play-off

2009-12-15 00:00

THE South African men’s hockey team, ranked 15th in the world, thumped world number 13s China 5-0 after leading 2-0 at half-time in their Champions Challenge fifth place play-off in Salta, Argentina.

The tournament was won by New Zealand, who beat Pakistan 4-2 in the final.

FIH said the first action of the China/SA match saw a brilliantly executed Chinese penalty corner, but SA goalkeeper Vince Prior saved superbly.

A buoyant SA netted from the next movement as Thornton McDade’s strike gave his country the upper hand in the match. China attempted to impose their customary high-tempo gameplan, but an on-song SA were equal to the challenge, giving rise to quality entertainment.

Play swung from end to end until China’s Yi Song had a gilt-edged opportunity to equalise when he took the ball unmarked at the top of the “D”, but Prior read the situation uncannily to narrow the angle, resulting in Song’s reverse-stick shot flying high over the crossbar.

The defence repelled a Chinese PC and once again a lightning-quick SA counter-attack caught the Asians hopping, with Julian Hykes ramming home the advantage.

SA delivered the knockout punch soon after the re-start via a Justin Reid-Ross PC and a field goal by Gareth Carr.

Now chasing the game from an even more desperate standpoint, the stuffing had been knocked out of the Chinese.

Perhaps fittingly for SA, the Chinese could not stop captain Austin Smith from delivering the coup de grace two minutes from the end for a well-deserved 5-0 victory on the part of the Africans.

Other results: (7/8) Belgium 2 Canada 0; (3/4) India 3 Argentina 2.

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