South Africa secure victory over Korea

In a rematch of the inaugural FIH Nations Cup Semi-Final, South Africa and Korea met in the FIH Hockey Nations Cup in Poland. This time the prize up for grabs a potential semi-final spot.

The game started in a tense and cagey manner with both teams playing a bit within themselves, looking to not concede any early chance. South Africa had the first real chance when Tevin Kok fired off a reverse stick from a tight angle but it was easily saved. Sherwood also chance before a brilliant run from Mustapha set up a finish but it was just wide.

It was a cagey first half as neither side created quality chances and it was hardly surprising to see the half time whistle sound with the scores deadlocked at 0-0.

South Africa raised the tempo in the second half and were rewarded with the games first penalty corner. Matt Guise-Brown’s shot was charged down by the first wave. South Africa though were growing in confidence and belief and started stretching the Korean defence.

As the momentum grew in the South African favour, the goal arrived. Keenan Horne found a small pocket of space and the South African captain fired home a rocket of a reverse stick strike to give the African champions a deserved lead.

As the saying goes much like busses arriving in pairs, so to does goals. South Africa found a second. The ball got through to Ryan Julius who lowered himself to finish into the bottom left corner of the goal to double the lead.

South Africa were again defensively strong in the final quarter despite a renewed effort from the Koreans. Dan Bell, Jacques van Tonder and Estiaan Kriek amongst others continued to deny every opportunity and frustrate the Koreans. Despite a few penalty corners for the Koreans at the end, the South Africans denied them to secure the three points and a possible semi-final.

SA Captain Keenan Horne, the player of the match, reflected on the result afterwards:
“We know the standards we have in our group and we may have started the tournament slowly, but we found the performance we know we can. We kept the clean sheet and defensively keep getting better. Im delighted to get on the scoresheet myself and we will watch on to see if the game can go in our favour!”

The South Africans will now await the result of the Poland and Austria game to see if they are overtaken on goal difference or if they have confirmed a place in the semi-finals.

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