Johannesburg - A fired-up South African women’s hockey team beat Spain 3-1 in the third match of their five-Test Incestec International Series at the Randburg Astro on Tuesday night to level the series 1-1 with two to play.
The first international was drawn 1-1, while Spain won the second 3-2.
Carlota Petchame opened the scoring but goals from Lenise Marais, Pietie Coetzee and Kim Hubach sealed South Africa’s win and set up intriguing fourth and fifth Tests, at 14:00 on both Saturday and Sunday in Randburg.
In the second minute Kate Woods moved the ball to Lesle-Ann George, who relayed to Shelley Russell, the superb attacking midfielder making ground before lashing a rising shot that was gloved away by goalkeeper Isabel Barguno. Spain immediately countered and Marais saved on the line before SA keeper Sanani Mangisa made a crucial save.
With the first quarter drawing to a close, Mangisa made a glove save, as did Barguno from Pietie Coetzee. Twelve minutes before half-time Spain won a hotly-disputed PC, which SA somehow managed to scramble away but six minutes later the Spaniards’ use of the long ball evaded the defensive screen once again and Carlota Petchame smashed high into the net (1-0).
SA had a great chance two minutes from half-time when strikers Sulette Damons and Coetzee combined but it was not to be. Two minutes after the break a neat SA move earned their first PC and trapper Lenise Marais recovered quickly from the wayward injection pass to score the equaliser from the edge of the strike zone (1-1).
Three minutes later George supplied a defence-splitting pass to Coetzee whose powerful shot dribbled off the keeper’s pads over the goalline for a soft goal that nevertheless heralded her 228th in 231 Test matches (2-1). Soon after, Coetzee’s third PC brought out a stunning stick save Barguno low to her right.
Midway, Spain’s third PC was intercepted by first wave Damons and soon after Coetzee was stick-checked in the strike zone.
The variation left saw Kate Woods’s power shot strike a defender in the goals with Barguno beaten and Kim Hubach slotted the penalty stroke for 3-1 in the 54th minute.
From the restart Russell set up Chamberlain, who effort was superbly saved before Kathleen Taylor forced another top save. Spain then missed an open goal, which summed up their night.
Meanwhile, in Delhi the South African men’s team beat India 3-1; the first time the SA men have beaten the eight-time Olympic gold medallists since 2004 - the goals coming from Lloyd Madsen and the Haley brothers, Ian and Craig. India lead the five-Test series 2-1 with the fourth Test at 13:30 SA time on Friday.