SA Hockey goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse (left) was in fine form against Russia on Wednesday. Photo: Hockey India on facebook

BHUBANESWAR –  The SA men's hockey team beat Russia 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the International Hockey Federation Series Finals in Bhubaneswar, India, on Wednesday.

They will now face the United States in the semifinals on Friday.

Rassie Pieterse was in great form for South Africa and ahead of him Austin Smith, Jethro Eustice and Tim Drummond were showing the stability of experience that is integral in big matches.

The game finally got its first goal in the third quarter through Nqobile Ntuli, but that lead was quickly pegged back at the start of the final quarter when Georgii Arussia fired home a penalty corner. 

A grandstand finish was set up as both teams probably had the thought of a shoot-out in the back of their minds.

But it was South Africa who continued to attack and Richard Pautz took the opportunity to capitalise on the space he was afforded by the Russian defence to play through a perfect ball to Tevin Kok. 

Kok squared to Ryan Julius who threw his stick at the ball to score what proved to be the winner.

South Africa know that a top-two finish will qualify them for the Olympic Qualifying matches on the Road to Tokyo. 

To do that they will have to avenge their earlier tournament defeat to USA in the semifinals. 

African News Agency (ANA)