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SA lead qualifier 4-0

South Africa came bounding out of the starting blocks to lead Brazil 4-0 at half-time in their opening Olympic Qualifier Tournament hockey match in Kakamigahara, Japan on Thursday.

Superb action goals from Western Province striker Lloyd Norris-Jones and KZN Coastal Raiders midfielder Tim Drummond were complemented by a penalty stroke strike by Andrew Cronje and a stunning penalty corner strike by Northern Blues sharpshooter Justin Reid-Ross.

The heavy drizzle did not deter the SA players unduly and their attacking intent in the first five minutes set the tone. Pinning the Brazilians pinned in their defensive third, there was no way out for the South Americans.

Threading a way through a crowded defence was not easy and a neat one-two down the right between Justin Reid-Ross and Wade Paton set up the best opportunity in the first 10 minutes but Daniel Tatara was alert to the danger.

The Brazilian goalkeeper then saved from a powerful Lloyd Norris-Jones shot. Thornton McDade’s snap-shot went just wide of the far post and the first quarter had flashed by with no score on the board.

But in the 20th that changed when Drummond initiated a move that saw the back three prominent, but the defence-splitting pass came from Clint Panther, and Norris-Jones buried the chance with the minimum of fuss (1-0).ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿Panther was again prominent in a move that resulted in Marvin Harper’s shot turning into a penalty stroke and Cronje sent the keeper the other way for the 2-0 scoreline with 12 minutes to the changeover.

Captain Austin Smith could scarcely believe it when an outstretched Tatara somehow got a foot to SA’s first penalty corner but with five minutes left a lurking Drummond netted a diving deflection from Cronje’s visionary pass (3-0).

A rare Brazilian entry into the scoring zone was tidied up by Reid-Ross and the defender was rewarded with SA’s second PC soon after but Bruno Sousa pulled his low flick off the line. Panther got in a shot from Ian Haley’s pass and on half-time the third PC ballooned the back of the net such was the power of the Reid-Ross rocket (4-0).

SA opted to rest European-based players Taine Paton, the KZN Coastal Raiders midfielder, and provincial team-mate and defender Lloyd Madsen.


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