SA in Champions Challenge Comeback Win

A slick United States, technically sound and intelligent manipulators of space, ran the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team ragged in the first half to lead 1-0 in the Champions Challenge at the National Hockey Centre in Glasgow Monday, but a remarkable fightback after the changeover saw the girls in green and gold beat the world’s 10th-ranked north Americans 2-1.

An excellent recovery by Nicolene Terblanche, who then relayed the ball to Dirkie Chamberlain, resulted in SA striker Lilian du Plessis showing the composure which made for a superb finish – and the winner – in the 50th minute, this after Lisa Deetlefs had beaten USA goalkeeper Jackie Kintzner with a powerful penalty corner slap shot five minutes earlier (45th).

Katie O’Donnell stole along the right-hand baseline in the most confined of spaces to open the scoring in the 12th minute and had it not been for a whole host of saves by SA goalkeeper Anelle van Deventer the USA would have led by a bigger margin going into the second half.

“The USA played very well in the first half, moved the ball well, very strong, a very clever game, we were always a yard off the pace,” said SA head coach Giles Bonnet.

Yet Van Deventer’s saves, left and right, many at close-range, kept the lively USA forwards out – and her team in the match – and Bonnet was full of praise for his keeper.

“At half-time I said, ‘we didn’t play to our ability and thanks to Anelle we are still in the game. We now have the chance to turn it around, so we have two choices; we can sit back and let Anelle try and keep us in the game for another half and then lose, or we can go win the game’, so thanks to Anelle we were able to do that.

“In the second half we decided to put more pressure, lift the game, lift what we were doing and we saw in the second half that we have the in-house capacity in the team to do that.”

World number 11 SA now have a handy four points from two matches, having being held to a 2-2 draw by world number 15 Ireland on day one, this despite the girls in green and gold missing a hatful of chances.

Bonnet believes there is still much to do as South Africa look forward to their final Pool B match against world number 14 Spain at 10.30am (SA time) Wednesday before Thursday’s quarter-finals.

“The second half was disappointing in the number of chances we created that we didn’t convert, we should have finished off the game, so there is still a lot of work to do in the kitchen.”

Fans can follow all the Champions Challenge action live on the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) YouTube Channel, while you can go to the FIH’s tournament page for all the fixtures and the Twitter handle @FIH_Hockey using the #CC1 tag to catch the match updates there.

 

Scorers:
Investec South Africa: (0) 2 (Lisa Deetlefs 45th minute, Lilian du Plessis 50th)
USA: (1) 1 (Katie O’Donnell 16th)
 
Pool B Fixtures and Results:
27 April: South Africa 2-2 Ireland (1-0)
28 April: South Africa 2-1 USA (0-1)
30 April: Spain vs South Africa
 
The Starting Investec SA Team:
Anelle van Deventer
Lisa Deetlefs
Lenise Marais
Quanita Bobbs
Marsha Cox (capt)
Shelley Russell
Bernie Coston
Tarryn Bright
Dirkie Chamberlain
Sulette Damons
Celia Evans
Rolling subs:
Sanani Mangisa
Nicolene Terblanche
Illse Davids
Marcelle Manson
Kelly Madsen
Lilian du Plessis
Kathleen Taylor
 

Photo 1 caption: SA striker Sulette Damons scythes through the USA defence in the face of captain Lauren Crandall’s challenge (left) while Emily World (on the turf) and Melissa Gonzalez (right) look on during South Africa’s 2-1 win at the Champions Challenge in Glasgow Monday. Photo: Rodrigo Jaramillo

Photo 2 caption: Right midfielder Shelley Russell skins the USA’s Kelsey Kolojejchick on the outside during South Africa’s 2-1 victory at the Champions Challenge in Glasgow Monday. Rodrigo Jaramillo

 

(With editing by gsport)

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