BHUBANESWAR – The SA men's hockey team suffered their second defeat in the International Hockey Federation Hockey Series (FIH) after losing 2-0 to Japan in Bhubaneswar over the weekend.
Having lost their first match 2-0 against USA, the South Africans would have been keen to put in a better performance against Japan.
Japan started well and produced a professional display in holding the South Africans at bay and creating good chances with regularity.
They eventually broke the deadlock just before halftime when Kentaro Fukuda expertly deflected past a helpless Siya Nolutshungu in the SA goal.
#FIHSeriesFinals #India #Odisha #Bhubaneswar@SA_Hockey - @USAFieldHockey— International Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) June 6, 2019
South Africa’s goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse: “Obviously it’s not the start we wanted. We’re very disappointed. If you look at the stats today, I think we threw the game away.” pic.twitter.com/q48jFNmYmJ
As South Africa sought to get back into the game they left gaps at the back and Kazuma Maruta finished off a counter attack after being left unmarked, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.
South Africa did pull off a late strike but unfortunately the strike from Tevin Kok, who had flown in to replace Dayaan Cassiem, was ruled to have crossed the line only after the siren.
The decision means that South Africa are still without a goal after their first two group games.
For them it's is a simple equation for them regarding this competition.
On Monday they will play Mexico for the right to finish third in the group and earn a spot in the quarterfinals. Should they lose that game, their tournament will be over.
African News Agency (ANA)