SA, Japan in thrilling draw

2012-05-02 11:15

Johannesburg - The South African men's hockey team played to a thrilling 3-3 draw against tournament hosts Japan in their penultimate Olympic qualifying group fixture in Kakamigahara on Wednesday.

The teams went into the match as the only two unbeaten sides in the competition, level on points at the top of the table.

Japan took the lead with 10 minutes left in the first half after a penalty corner was awarded for an infringement in the South African penalty area.

After a frantic goalmouth tussle, the hosts knocked the ball in after the third rebound, with goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse making two saves before he was beaten.

Striker Lloyd Norris-Jones hit back for South Africa two minutes later to level the scores, sending the teams into the break level at 1-1.

Japan went ahead again seven minutes into the second half after they were awarded another penalty corner, but the South Africans immediately equalised once more through Justin Reid-Ross, who scored from a penalty corner.

With the scores level at 2-2, Japan took the lead for a third time with 17 minutes left to play after another scramble in the South African area resulted in a simple tap-in for the hosts.

With time running out, SA left it late to grab another equaliser.

In the last second of the match, the South Africans were awarded another penalty corner which specialist Reid-Ross put away into the top corner.

The draw left the sides level on 10 points at the top of the standings, four points ahead of China who held a game in hand.

South Africa play Austria in their last group match on Friday, while Japan have a tricky last fixture against China.

The top two sides will meet in the final on Sunday for the last available place at the London Olympic Games.


  • Sara - 2012-05-02 11:56

    Brilliant!!!Wish South Africa took hockey as seriously as rugby and cricket

  • Mark - 2012-05-02 12:28

    How hockey has not become a major spectator sport in SA is beyond me. The SA mens and women's hockey sides are brilliant and punch way above their weight. Compared to the dry unimaginative drivel offered up by the SAFU tournaments such as the PSL, our hockey is very healthy and our national sides compete equally with the best in the world. Compared with the pathetic overpaid underworked useless freaks that make up Bafana...who have now slumped to lower than 70 in the FIFA rankings - below Iran and Haiti !! Even schoolboy hockey in SA is very healthy - go to any Rondebosch vs Bishops 1st or 2nd team game and watch exciting, skillful hockey being offered to spectators!!

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-05-02 16:06

      Hockey has never being much of a spectator sport here, with rugby and cricket dominating it as more popular sports at traditionally white schools. It also amazes me how when 80 % of the country plays soccer and is so soccer mad, but our national team is so poor. It makes no sense, I wonder if anyone has an explanation for it. The facilities are better than in other African countries, yet we lag behind many of them in terms of performing. Very confusing, something must need fixing, be it attitude, training, etc? Surely its not possible that the people just don't have the ability?

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