Johannesburg – Lost opportunities saw the South African women's hockey team go down 2-1 to Belgium in the Champions Challenge in Dublin on Sunday.
South Africa dominated the first half, and Belgium the second, but the Africans will reflect on how their winning the majority of goal-scoring chances did not translate into victory.
Erica Coppey and Alix Gerniers did the damage for the Belgians with Tarryn Bright replying for SA after the score was 0-0 at half-time.
“The girls have got to take their opportunities,” said SA assistant coach Fabian Gregory’s summation.
With eight players from the London 2012 team not in Dublin, this was a new combination led by Lenise Marais that was on a steep learning curve.
The first chance for the South Africans came in the eighth minute when Bright’s slap shot from a penalty corner saw South Africa’s attackers come close to connecting the rebound off keeper Aisling D’Hooge’s pads.
Midway through the half, keeper Sanani Mangisa smothered a Belgian attack by coming off her line and cutting the angle. Lilian du Plessis was able to get a shot in before Aline Fobe’s effort was superbly saved by the SA stopper at the other end.
Belgium won their first penalty corner after 48 minutes but Marais was on the post to deflect away and then the Europeans got another after a Mangisa deflection save.
A brace of Mangisa reflex saves followed before Coppey buried the rebound (1-0).
With 15 minutes left Gerniers made certain of the two-goal margin when she smashed in a rebound (2-0). A final penalty corner after the hooter was smashed in by Bright but it was too late to make a difference. – Sapa