Dec 11, 2023

FIH Hockey Junior World Cup | South Africa dismiss challenge of Chile in 9-16 Playoff

A massive storm at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukhit Jalil in Malaysia saw the South African and Chile match up delayed by just over an hour on Monday afternoon. Despite a lengthy wait the African champions put their foot to the floor immediately when they game got underway.

Hans Neethling showed quick hands to draw into the circle and Lerou Dithankanyane had the easiest job of firing it home. After a Ross Breytenbach save was made, Neethling again provided the assist, this time from the left. He picked up David Tshebi who slammed home from the top of the circle and the South Africans led 2-0 at the end of the first 15 minutes.

Early in the second quarter the South Africans won a penalty corner. Despite a mis-trap the ball was slipped to Jayden Brooker and the young man smashed his drag flick into the upright and out. They then had to defend a penalty corner from Chile and got out of jail as the ball came across but was missed by the Chilean striker. The score remained 2-0 at the half time break.

An early penalty corner in the second half was almost converted by Calvin Davis as South Africa sought to put the game to bed. Hans Neethling produced a moment of magic keeping a ball in with tremendous effort before scooping it over the left shoulder of the keeper and extending the lead to 3-0. Neethling was then given a yellow card for a poor tackle as Chile tried to find a foothold in the game as the rain returned to the National Hockey Stadium.

Immediately on his return to the park it was Neethling who was involved again as the South Africans extended the lead. Great work from Tshebi on the right saw the ball turned inside, Neethling leaned ahead of his defender and diverted it home to make it 4-0. South Africa were creating occasions down the right-hand side.

Early in the final quarter Chile attacked hard at the South Africans and won a penalty corner. The goal was finally scored taking a massive deflection off the first runner. 4-1. South Africa had a penalty corner double award half way through the final quarter and when the ball fell to their captain Nathan Ansell, he fired home to extend the lead back to four.

The victory was secured for the South Africans which means a top 12 spot and a chance at top 10 finish still up for grabs. They will next play New Zealand in the 9-12 Playoffs.

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