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Ken Borland

SA keep structure & push India hard in 1st half, lose focus in 2nd

Posted on March 24, 2022 by Ken

South Africa kept their structure and pushed India all the way in the first half of their FIH Hockey Pro League match in Potchefstroom on Sunday, but really lost focus in the second half and ended up being hammered 10-2.

India had been beaten 5-2 by France the previous evening, so they were certainly keen to rebound and they scored some cracking goals, as well as being ruthless at short-corner time, Harmanpreet Singh scoring four goals.

But South Africa had taken the early lead through Dan Bell’s low penalty corner flick in the 12th minute, although Surender Kumar equalised three minutes later with a real rocket into the top of the net.

South Africa defended really well in the first half and it took another excellent strike, a fierce lofted hit by Shilaland Lakra, for India to score three minutes from halftime.

But the home side were hard on attack at the end of the half and they should have equalised, but the ball was given away and India’s rapid counter-attack saw a 2-on-1 with the goalkeeper, Mandeep Singh putting them 3-1 up.

The second half saw South Africa pay a heavy price for once again giving possession away too often and failing to capitalise on their own chances. India were brilliant on the counter-attack, going 5-1 up at the end of the third quarter and then scoring five more goals in the last 15 minutes as the home side really fell apart.

In terms of their finishing, South Africa had 53% of possession and more short corners than India, but only converted two of their 17 shots at goal. That included a penalty stroke, which would have closed the gap to 2-3, being wasted.

South Africa did grab a second goal when Connor Beauchamp’s excellent penalty corner flick gave him his first international goal in the 53rd minute.

The match was almost a repeat though of South Africa’s 6-2 loss to the Netherlands the previous night when they were 2-1 down but a penalty stroke was again not converted, the Dutch scoring soon after to go 3-1 up at the halftime break. They did not look back.

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