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Ken Borland

SA hockey once again come undone

Posted on March 09, 2022 by Ken

South Africa’s second game in the FIH Hockey Pro League in Potchefstroom saw them once again come undone as they were hammered 10-2 by a fast and skilful India side who were relentless in the first half.

India powered into an 8-0 lead at halftime with four goals in each quarter, their short-corner work being particularly clinical, Jugraj Singh scoring a hat-trick from the set-piece.

The pace at which they played clearly rattled the South Africans, who struggled to match the ball-speed and inevitably made basic mistakes or gave the possession away through poor passes. They also lacked composure in defence, with India earning a short corner with just about every circle-entry in the early stages of the match.

South Africa began the second half in much better fashion, keeping India in their own territory with much better ball-retention and earning a couple of short-corners which were well-saved by goalkeeper PR Sreejesh. India’s brilliant counter-attacking skills then came to the fore as they broke out of their cell and swiftly stormed downfield, Gursahibjit Singh scoring with an excellent angled finish.

South Africa were 9-0 down but they provided some hope with a strong performance in the second half, producing patches of attractive hockey.

Daniel Bell found the box with a low short-corner flick in the 44th minute and Richard Pautz punched home early in the final quarter, after good build-up by Tyson Dlungwana down the left flank and neat touches by Dayaan Cassiem and Bili Ntuli.

India had the final say though, two minutes before the end as Dilpreet Singh broke free and fired a superb shot into goal from the top of the circle.

“We did not start the way we wanted,” Bell admitted, “we struggled to get into our rhythm in the first half. We wanted a more competitive game and we need to keep them out better.

“In the second half there was a big change, we started to play some hockey and show our flair.”

“The first half was not a true reflection of our ability,” Pautz said. “We had a very slow start and our mindset was off. But a 2-2 draw in the second half shows our capability.

“That’s what we should be doing consistently and we need to be more clinical in the circle.”

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