JOHANNESBURG – Despite a dominant performance, the South African women’s hockey team walked away with a 0-0 draw in their opening match against India at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals on Saturday.
The Proteas were on top of the proceedings for the much of the first three quarters at the Wits Hockey Club, making the most shots at target while enjoying the better of the possession and field position.
For all intents and purposes, South Africa let the match slip out of their hands as they allowed India into the match in the final quarter.
The home team had a golden opportunity to clinch the victory in the third quarter when they managed to get the ball into the back of the box. The goal was disallowed after it was adjudged the ball hit Bernie Coston on the knee on the way to the goal box.
South Africa will be kicking themselves for not finishing their chances as they took eight shots at goal, with four heading for the net. India made three shots at goal, with only two getting close to the target.
The Proteas enjoyed 58 percent of the possession, but battled to land the knockout blow against their sub-continental opponents.
South Africa are aiming to finish among the top four teams at the end of the tournament, which would not only guarantee the team a spot at the World Cup, but also at the 2017 Hockey World League Finals.
Coston proved to be among the top performers as she had the Indians under the cosh in the circle.
South Africa had an early setback when Quanita Bobbs was sent off with a green card in the 18th minute to cop a two-minute suspension.
Indian keeper Savita Punia kept things together for the tourists as she held the South African attack at bay.
SA launched 18 circle penetrations, but would be disappointed to not have anything to show for it.
Tarryn Glasby and Sulette Damons had creditable shots at goal, but were left unsatisfied going into the halftime break.
In the third quarter, Stephanie Baxter’s goal was referred and denied due to the ball hitting Coston.
India made a strong challenge in the dying moments of the match, with the home side holding on for a draw that they would have felt should have been a victory in the bag.