Hockey World Cup 2018: Canada, South Africa play out 1-1 draw to stay alive
Canada and South Africa played out a 1-1 draw in their second Pool C match to stay afloat in the men’s Hockey World Cup.Updated: Dec 02, 2018 19:24 IST
In a match between two minnows, Canada drew 1-1 against South Africa in a Pool C contest to keep both the teams’ chances of qualifying for the knockout stages alive for the Hockey World Cup 2018.
While Canada lost 1-2 to Belgium on the opening day of the tournament, South Africa were thrashed by hosts India 0-5.
But Sunday was a different day at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar with South Africa taking the lead via a Nqobile Ntuli 43rd minute field goal. That advantage however was done away with when Canada skipper Scott Tupper (45th) scored from a penalty stroke at the stroke of the third quarter.
The result means both teams earned a point each and are well within a chance to enter the knockouts, albeit the crossovers as a direct qualification for the quarter-finals looks difficult without a win in two games.
World No.15 South Africa clearly appeared to be the better team, creating chances at regular intervals and with more accurate passing. They maintained better ball possession in the first two quarters too and created more circle entries, also earning seven penalty corner chances to three of Canada.
However, it was Canada who broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute after Ntuli surprised the South African defenders. But the African outfit were quick on the counter-attack caught their opponents napping to penetrate the Canadian circle.
The result was a foul which handed Canada a penalty stroke. It was an easy job for skipper Tupper who put the ball into the goal as the hooter blew to mark the end of the third quarter.
The tempo increased considerably in the final quarter as the forward lines of both teams began their attack.
With five minutes to go, South Africa exchanged their goalkeeper with a field player to increase their chances of scoring a goal as they knew this was probably their only realistic opportunity of a win in the group.
With three minutes to go, the African team got another penalty corner but they wasted away the opportunity.
“It was a big game for us and we needed a win to keep our hopes of making it to the new round alive. We played a good game but luck was not on our side and eventually Canada was able to draw and split the much required points,” said South African Keenan Horne.
“Now the goal difference will also play an important role in deciding the overall placing in the group and we expect India to thrash Canada with a huge goal margin.”
Canada coach Paul Bundy, on the other hand, appreciated South Africa’s game.
“South Africa played their best hockey in quite some time. Now we have to focus for the next game against India. India has an advantage of home crowd but we’ll try our best to beat them. And as goal average is also going to come in play, so if not a win against India, at least we’ll try for a draw,” said Bundy.
Canada will next face hosts India on Saturday while the South Africans play 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallists Belgium in their next games on Saturday.
First Published: Dec 02, 2018 19:24 IST