Other Sport

Manuel stars as South Africa shock USA

2017-07-17 07:14
Candice Manuel (Getty)

Johannesburg - Candice Manuel scored twice in three minutes to give hosts South Africa a shock 3-2 win over the United States on Sunday and a women's Hockey World League quarter-final place.

It was a must-win Pool B match for the host nation if they were to avoid elimination and they triumphed through passion and skill at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. 

South Africa face Germany Tuesday in the quarter-finals while the United States play Japan, Argentina meet Ireland and England face India. 

The United States led South Africa twice in a thriller before Manuel turned the tide in favour of the hosts through goals on 49 and 51 minutes. 

In a tense finish, South Africa were twice reduced to nine players when players were sent to the sin bin, but they survived for a dramatic triumph. 

South Africa were unrecognisable from the team that drew their pool opener against India, then lost to Argentina and Chile. 

They forced many midfield turnovers, counterattacked with pace and won over a crowd crammed into a 2 000-seat stadium through a never-say-die attitude. 

"The crowd were magnificent and drove us to victory," said smiling skipper Sulette Damons.

"We always believed we could beat the Americans. We owed our supporters a victory after not playing very well in earlier matches. 

"Candice (Manuel) was phenomenal. We owe her a debt of gratitude. Her first goal was great and the second fantastic." 

South Africa coach Sheldon Rostron had been a glum figure all week with his team failing to spark amid expectations that they should at least reach the quarter-finals. 

But he managed a shy smile after the most dramatic match of 20 in a pool stage involving 10 nations, including England and Argentina, ranked second and third in the world. 

"My heart is pounding a lot faster than it should be," he said. "We delivered our awesome 'A' game today and can look forward to the quarter-finals with confidence." 

American hockey legend Melissa Gonzalez gave her team a first-quarter lead that Jade Mayne cancelled before half-time as the crowd cheered every South African attack. 

But a temporary hush enveloped the stadium when leading tournament scorer Jill Wilmer claimed her fourth goal as the third quarter drew to a close. 

Manuel then struck twice, slipping unnoticed into the 'D' to snatch the winner with a shot under the right foot of the onrushing goalkeeper. 

Argentina cruised to a 3-0 win over India in the same section and topped the table with a maximum 12 points. 

The United States got six points, South Africa and India four and Chile were eliminated with three, much to the despair of emotional coach Sergio Vigil, who was in the crowd. 

Almost as exciting as the clash between the South Africans and Americans was England edging Ireland 3-2 in a Pool A match that offered first place to either side if they won. 

With a 13-place rankings advantage, England were favoured and built a 2-0 half-time lead before being rocked by two Irish goals within three minutes. 

International hockey superstar Alex Danson put England ahead again and her team survived a late score when Anna O'Flanagan slipped in the circle as she prepared to shoot. 

Workmanlike Germany triumphed 3-0 over Japan, inflicting a first defeat on the 'Cherry Blossoms'. 

England topped the final standings with nine points, Germany shaded Japan for second spot on goal difference after each collected seven, Ireland got five and Poland none.

Read more on:    hockey


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

How should the 2019/20 English Premier League title race be resolved?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.