Proteas’ Hockey World Cup hopes dealt hefty blow
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa will rue a host of missed opportunities in their 1-1 draw with Canada in their crucial Pool C match at the Hockey World Cup in India yesterday.
The Proteas’ chances of reaching the crossover round were dealt a hefty blow and they will have to be at their best against Belgium where goal differences will ultimately seal their fate.
They had seven penalty corners, but could not find the breakthrough while they also made 24 circle penetrations with only one of their shots landing in the back of the net. Nqobile Ntuli scored a stunning goal in the 43rd minute to break the stalemate, but the celebrations were short lived as SA only held the lead for two minutes before Canada equalised.
They managed to hold onto possession and also created plenty of scoring opportunities. A golden opportunity in the 11th minute of the match went a begging when Ntuli’s deflection in the goal mouth went wide of the box.
The SA Men's Hockey team ahead of their departure for India. Photo: @SA-Hockey_Men on twitter
SA earned their first penalty corner 30 seconds before the end of the first quarter when a torpedo from Austin Smith’s stick hit the crossbar.
They continued to create opportunities in the second chukka, but battled to find the breakthrough.
Ntuli made up for his earlier miss, handing SA the lead when he pivoted and landed the ball in the back of the net.
SA did well to absorb the initial counter from Canada, but they ultimately buckled under the pressure with ill-discipline leading to a penalty stroke which Scott Tupper converted to level the scores in the 45th minute.