Manuel strikes twice to send SA into quarter-finals | SASCOC - SASCOC

Manuel strikes twice to send SA into quarter-finals


Two goals from Candice Manuel saw South Africa’s national women’s hockey team qualify for the quarter-finals of the FIH Hockey World League Semi-Finals after a dramatic win over the US in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Manuel sealed the victory for South Africa after they had trailed twice in the match to win 3-2. Manual’s second goal gave SA the lead with nine minutes to go.

For the last few minutes the home crowd went wild to help the team keep the lead, despite desperate final attacks from America.

At half-time the score was 1-1. Melissa Gonzalez scored in the 14th minute to give the US the lead after the first chukka. Then, after brilliant work from Shelley Jones on the counter-attack, Jade Mayne made it 1-1 in the 27th minute.

The US took the lead again with one minute left in the third chukka when Jill Witmer hit the back of the goal-box, but Manuel made it all square again after some brilliant work between herself and Bernadette Coston. Less than two minutes later Manuel scored again.

With their backs against the wall the SA women stepped up big time in the second half. They played with intensity that lacked in previous games.

Sheldon Rostron was a proud and emotional coach afterwards. ‘I’m really happy. I actually have no words. My heart is pounding like crazy. The team had to dig deep for the victory. We wanted to work some shots at goals and score from it and we did that. We have learnt some lessons and I am excited with what we have achieved today.’

Goal-scorer Manuel added: ‘It’s great to score goals and win matches because we live for moments like these. When I score I’m really happy and I had to show it.’

Captain Sulette Damons was also a happy camper. ‘We kept believing we could win, even though we went behind twice. I’m proud of my team.’

South Africa will now play against Germany in the quarter-final on Tuesday.

Monday sees the SA men’s team up against Belgium at 18:00pm. Belgium played in the final of the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the only way South Africa can reach the next round is by beating Belgium, who are in rampant form.

Picture of Bernadette Coston, Shelley Jones, Manuel and Ilse Davids of South Africa celebrating the win courtesy of Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images

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