Waste­ful SA pay the price

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VIL­LIERS

MISS­ING am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties in the first half caused the wound and con­ced­ing three goals in the sec­ond was the salt Ger­many rubbed into it in South Africa’s sec­ond World League Hockey League Semi­Fi­nals match at Wits yes­ter­day.

The re­sult was a 4-3 de­feat at the hands of the world’s third ranked team de­spite go­ing into the half-time break hav­ing bossed their more es­teemed op­po­si­tion.

The hosts launched an im­pres­sive fight­back in the fi­nal quar­ter of the match as they scored two goals and threat­ened to claim a fourth to level the scores.

South Africa waited for Ger­many to gain a three­goal ad­van­tage be­fore they man­aged to get the rub of the green.

The home side would have been sat­is­fied with their per­for­mances in the open­ing and clos­ing quar­ters of the game which they dom­i­nated.

It was not enough to claim a fa­mous vic­tory over the Ger­mans, who scored three goals in the third quar­ter.

After South Africa wasted their fourth penalty corner the Ger­mans moved the ball to the other end to take the lead cour­tesy of Moritz Trompertz.

The sec­ond half got off to a dis­ap­point­ing start for South Africa with Nik­las Wellen pro­duc­ing some in­di­vid­ual bril­liance to sneak the ball past keeper Rassie Pi­eterse and into the back of the net.

The Ger­mans added their third only two min­utes later with Pi­etersen man­ag­ing to de­fend the on­slaught twice from a penalty corner only for Mats Gram­busch to score.

At this stage the match seemed to com­pletely un­ravel for South Africa but the Proteas launched a gutsy fight­back which nearly resulted in a draw.

Play­ing in his 150th in­ter­na­tional for South Africa, Austin Smith fi­nally landed a shot into the top of the net from a penalty corner in the 37th minute.

Ger­many im­me­di­ately re­turned their lead to three goals scor­ing a minute later with Timm Herzbruch get­ting onto the score­sheet.

The fi­nal quar­ter be­longed to the South Africans as they dom­i­nated pro­ceed­ings with Smith get­ting a brace from an­other penalty corner in the 50th minute.

Jonty Robin­son slid across to get the ball into the box to close the deficit to one with less than five min­utes left.

Get­ting a sniff of a morale­boost­ing draw South Africa camped out in the Ger­man half.

With less than a minute left in the match the Proteas were re­warded a penalty corner which keeper Mark Ap­pel saved to hold on for a hard­fought vic­tory.

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