Clin­i­cal Bel­gium thrash poor SA

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VIL­LIERS

SOUTH Africa’s men’s team were out­classed and out­played as they suf­fered a 9-1 hid­ing from Bel­gium in their fi­nal Hockey World League Semi­Fi­nals pool match yes­ter­day

Fac­ing the prospect of miss­ing out on the quar­ter­fi­nals, South Africa needed a vic­tory against the Rio Olympic Games sil­ver medal­lists to ad­vance to the play­offs the com­pe­ti­tion.

The re­sult high­lighted the mas­sive gulf be­tween the 15th ranked Proteas and the num­ber-five team in the world.

While the Proteas women rose to the oc­ca­sion given the same odds against the United States, the men with­ered away against an in-form Bel­gium.

Boast­ing one of the most po­tent at­tacks in the com­pe­ti­tion, Bel­gium went into the match hav­ing scored 18 goals while con­ced­ing only five.

South Africa faced im­mense pres­sure in the first chukka and in­stead of soak­ing it up, they crum­bled to al­low the Bel­gians to take a 2-0 lead.

It was clear the Proteas were on a hid­ing to noth­ing as they al­lowed the Bel­gians easy ac­cess into the cir­cle and the back of the goal box.

Bel­gium sig­nalled the start of their bloody ram­page with their third goal be­fore adding four more to go into the half-time break with a 7-0 ad­van­tage.

The vis­i­tors’ goal-fest came cour­tesy of two braces from Thomas Briels and Se­bastien Dock­ier, with Ni­co­las Hen­drickx, Ni­co­las de Ker­pel, Gau­thier Boc­card, Loick Luy­paert and Cedric Char­lier also get­ting in on the ac­tion.

Dock­ier added his sec­ond goal three min­utes af­ter the restart be­fore South Africa got onto the score­sheet in the 35th minute cour­tesy of Matthew Guise-Brown from a penalty cor­ner.

If there are any pos­i­tives South Africa can take out of the match it is the fact that they man­aged to limit the Bel­gians to only two goals in the sec­ond half.

While they missed a few op­por­tu­ni­ties to give the score­board some re­spectabil­ity, it would not have changed the out­come against a bru­tal and clin­i­cal Bel­gian side.

South Africa will now play for ninth place af­ter los­ing to Ire­land (2-0), Ger­many (4-3), and Egypt (2-1) be­fore yes­ter­day’s ham­mer­ing.

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