SA hockey men thrash Austria

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iol spt feb26 Hockey men Gallo Images The South African men's hockey team achieved a 5-0 victory over Austria in a dominant performance at the Randburg Astroturf.

The South African men's hockey team achieved a 5-0 victory over Austria in a dominant performance at the Randburg Astroturf on Sunday.

The result means SA win the series 1-0 after Saturday's rain interrupted match was called off six minutes from the end and classified a “no result.”

South Africa opened the scoring in the 12th minute with Lance Louw finding Julian Hykes in the Austrian circle, before Thornton McDade deflected Hykes's wayward shot to send the ball into the roof of the net.

Austria had a number of opportunities in the first half, including three penalty corners, two of which were well saved by SA goalkeeper Erasmus Pieterse.

The visitor's best chance came three minutes before the break, with striker Michael Korper, who scored three penalty corners in Saturday's test, flicking a penalty corner shot at goal, but he was denied by Pieterse.

The hosts welcomed back defender Ricky West, who looked in good shape, anchoring the South African defence whilst providing regular service into the opposition circle.

West was solid at the back for the South African side, creating the second goal from deep inside his own half.

South Africa started the second half well, Lloyd Norris-Jones scoring after a well-placed pass from Timothy Drummond found Norris-Jones in the Austrian circle.

Drummond was called into action again with 20 minutes left, when Julian Hykes drove into the Austrian circle before his shot was saved by Mantler but fell to a diving Drummond who trickled the ball into the goal.

Austria's only chance of the second half came in the 61st minute with Robert Bele shooting well wide of Pieterse's goal.

South Africa finished the second period much the way they started, Julian Hykes driving into the circle before laying the ball off to his right to Craig Haley who returned the ball to Hykes at the top of the area, slotting the ball into an open goal.

The South Africans rounded off a dominant second half performance in the penultimate minute when Craig Haley turned goal scorer off a well-timed pass from Francois Pretorius.

South Africa will meet Austria again at the beginning of April in their Olympic qualifier tournament in Japan. The men have to win the tournament in order to qualify for the Olympic Games in London. – Sapa


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