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Scrappy win over Swiss sees hockey men into the quarters
- Updated: March 11, 2015
It may have been their least impressive performance, but the South Africa men’s hockey team did enough to beat a spirited Switzerland 2-0 in the final Pool match of the Greenfields FIH World League Round 2 tournament at Hartleyvale in Cape Town on Tuesday night.
Jon Cook reports that a sizzling penalty corner strike by captain Austin Smith in the second minute and a quality field goal by Taine Paton four minutes after half-time (34th minute) ensured SA ended top of Pool A and booked a 6.30pm quarter-final date with Azerbaijan on Thursday.
SA were increasingly better in first beating China and then Egypt over the weekend. But the men in green and gold were disjointed for the most part against the Swiss and will be looking for far better in the quarter-final.
After just 93 seconds Julian Hykes fed Clint Panther who won a penalty corner. Paton injected from the baseline, Tim Drummond trapped the white nut at the top of the strike zone and Smith flashed his drag-flick into the net.
Then, in the eighth minute Natius Malgraff set a flying Shannon Boucher free down the left wing and the striker was upended in the strike zone, earning SA another PC, but Matt Guise-Brown’s effort was superbly glove-saved by brilliant keeper Flavio Beuggert.
The keeper’s effort set the tone and he denied Smith at PC time on a number of occasions in the match, as well as Hykes and his fellow frontrunners from field play.
The Swiss had their chances, but SA keeper Rassie Pieterse was outstanding in stopping efforts from Jan Hodle and Florian Feller, while the Swiss suffered the frustration of seeing two PC efforts fly just wide of each post.
So, it certainly wasn’t pretty, but the men in green and gold can now look forward to the business end of the tournament, which starts on Thursday. Friday afternoon features the semi-finals with the medal matches on Sunday afternoon.
Picture of Pierre de Voux in action on Tuesday, courtesy of Matt Withers, Action Pix
France 3 Belarus 0; Azerbaijan 1 Czech Republic 1 (penalty shootout) Azerbaijan 3 Czech Republic 1
Egypt 4 China 1; South Africa 2 Switzerland 0.
Czech Republic vs China; Egypt vs Belarus; France vs Switzerland; South Africa vs Azerbaijan