JOHANNESBURG - The South African women’s hockey team’s hopes of reaching the playoffs at the World League Semi-Finals were dealt a serious blow on Friday when they went down 1-0 to Chile.
Missed opportunities once again characterised the Proteas women’s performance in their penultimate group-stage match.
South Africa will have to perform a miracle in their final pool match against the United States to clinch a quarter-final berth in the tournament.
Ranked seven places lower than South Africa, Chile turned in a gutsy performance to keep their chances of advancing to the quarter-finals alive.
The sides were relatively even after the first quarter, with South Africa taking three shots at goal compared to the two by the Chileans.
Going into the halftime break, South Africa had created a few chances in open play while earning a penalty corner, but could not get the rub of the green.
Chile, in turn, had four penalty corners which they could not convert into points with the home side doing well to keep the visitors out.
With the match evenly poised and the pressure building for a result for either side, the second half would prove to be decisive.
The tourists struck a blow shortly after the restart when they were awarded a penalty corner in the 32nd minute. Manuela Urroz scored from the edge of the box to beat the South African keeper to go 1-0 in their final Pool B match.
South Africa had a golden opportunity to level the scores six minutes from time when Bernie Coston received the ball with an open goal, but swept past it.
The host nation will next face the sixth-ranked United States on Sunday, where they will be looking for a victory to keep their quarter-final hopes alive.