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Coetzee gets two as South Africa rout USA
- Updated: August 6, 2012
Pietie Coetzee closed in on 250 goals as South Africa routed the United States 7-0 at London 2012 on Monday. The scoreline flattered the Americans who left their best for the last Group B preliminary round match. It could as easily have been 15-0, writes Gary Lemke.
South Africa’s dominance is clearly demonstrated in the fact they had 17 shots at goal from open play ÔÇô and succeeded with three ÔÇô while they were also awarded 10 penalty corners. Of those they converted four, with Coetzee getting two of them to take her world record goal-scoring tally to 248. She has every opportunity of hitting the milestone in the next match, which will be in the play-offs.
Going into the game the USA were placed fifth in the group, one ahead of South Africa on the rung after the Proteas had never recovered from their own shellacking (7-1) they received at the hands of Argentina in their opener. From there they suffered losses to Germany, New Zealand and Australia. But this victory saw them leapfrog the Americans to finish fifth on the table, with three points, on goal difference (-5 to -9).
On Monday morning under pregnant skies but no rain, South Africa quickly made their intentions felt. Bernadette Coston had an opportunity within the first minute, before the US had what was to prove a rare chance at the other end, via a short corner.
In fact, after the first 10 minutes there was an even balance to the game ÔÇô both teams wasted two penalty corners ÔÇô but when Tarryn Bright opened the scoring in the 14th minutes she also opened the floodgates. Her goal came from a penalty corner that was well executed and you could visibly see the pressure lifting off the shoulders of the South Africans.
The second goal came from Lesle-Ann George in the 20th minute and then Dirkie Chamberlain went close, but her shot was kept out by the US keeper. The respite for the Americans was short-lived as Jen Wilson made it 3-0 on 25 minutes. Sulette Damons then looked to have made it 4-0 but the goal was disallowed for dangerous play after a TV appeal and referral. No matter. Captain Marsha Marescia saw her shot saved but then Coetzee struck from a penalty corner and at 4-0 going into half-time the only question was how many more would be scored in the second half.
South Africa continued where they left off and continued to bully their opponents. Sharper, Quicker, Slicker could have been their Olympic motto today.
Damons, Coetzee and Bright all had opportunities to put further daylight between themselves and their opponents, but the goal was always going to come and it did through Bright’s second of the match in the 44th minute. The US were now being run ragged and their cause wasn’t helped when Shannon Taylor was shown a yellow card.
Kate Woods then three times was denied from a penalty corner, as was Lenise Marais as South Africa camped in their opponent’s half and kept banging on the door of the defence. Finally, Chamberlain made a penalty corner count for 6-0 and then with eight minutes remaining Coetzee rattled home her second (and that famous 248th) to put a full stop next to a superb performance by South Africa. This was a day when those keeping their own score could have run out of ink, but 7-0 in a tough Olympic pool qualifier you’ll take any time.