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Goal No 205 for Pietie

The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team won their fifth and final Test against world number 14 Azerbaijan 1-0 at the Randburg Astro Stadium on Monday night.
In the ninth minute, superstar striker Pietie Coetzee took her tally to 205 goals in 211 Test matches with a powerful drag-flick from South Africa’s first penalty corner. The result left the series 4-0 to SA.

Investec South Africa won the first, second and third Test matches at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg 4-3, 3-1 and 4-0 respectively before the fourth Test was drawn 1-1 at Randburg on Sunday.

Next up for SA is a tough stretch as they now go on to play world number four China in six consecutive Tests in Johannesburg from Tuesday to Sunday. The first four are at the Wanderers Club from 5pm each evening with Saturday and Sunday’s fifth and sixth Test matches back at Randburg, with the first whistle at 7pm on each occasion.

On Monday both Border’s Marcelle Keet and Northerns Blues striker Dirkie Chamberlain played their 50th Test matches for South Africa in an entertaining game that swung to and fro, and the latter was unlucky when her deflection from the final play of the match struck Azerbaijan goalkeeper Gahramanova Huimin on the facemask and was cleared.

Investec Player of the Match Hanli Hattingh made a series of impressive saves in both halves as the Azerbaijanis pressed for the equaliser. This was the third player-of-the-match award to a South African goalkeeper with number one stopper Mariette Rix and second-choice keeper Sanani Mangisa also reflecting the outstanding work put in by head coach Giles Bonnet’s panel of goalkeeping coaches.

Azerbaijan centre back Shukurzade Hyesook was again in top form, as was striker Aliyeva Mi Seon, and the stocky Hyesook slammed some dangerous free-hits and strong drives into the SA goal zone in an oft-successful bid to find her forwards, Mi Seon in particular.

Investec SA captain and World All Stars midfielder Marsha Marescia worked tirelessly in the engine room on a somewhat frustrating night for the host country, who are now battling to score after the first three Tests produced 11 goals against the combative Azerbaijanis.

The penalty corner count was 7-6 to the tourists as the Azerbaijanis made effective circle entries in the second half, but an inability to make them count has been a feature of the past five matches. Certainly they are in desperate need of a decent drag-flicker if they are to get anywhere at the Champions Challenge in Dublin in June, where they will come up against the South Africans once again.


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