South Africa takes 5th; India finishes in 7th
South Africa topped the placement group pack with a fifth-place finish at the Electric Ireland FIH Champions Challenge 1 after earning a 2-1 win against host Ireland. In the seventh-place game India earned a 3-1 win against Azerbaijan.
Pietie Coetzee has been the key player for South Africa throughout the event and today was no different as she hammered in a penalty corner shot into the upper right corner to give South Africa the go-ahead 2-1 goal with 22 minutes left in regulation. Despite a flurry of activity late in the game, Coetzee’s goal stood and South Africa hung on for the win.
Sulette Damons was the other goal scorer for South Africa striking in the first half, and Nicola Symmons netted the lone marker for Ireland on a penatly corner in the second half.
Despite missing out on a medal, South Africa can hold its head high with its performance at the event. It lost only one game the entire event, but unfortunately it was the key Quarter Final match-up which sent the team to the placement round despite going unbeaten in the preliminary group. Ireland was in the same position, having also gone unbeaten in its preliminary round, but losing the critical Quarter Final.
In the seventh-place game, India ended its tournament on a high note after a 3-1 win against Azerbaijan. Both teams were lethargic in the first half of the morning game with scoring chances being few and far between.
The only goal of the first half came on a penalty stroke in the 28th minute when Azerbaijan’s Zhang Suleymanova easily scored on India’s Yogita Bali.
India came out in the second half must stronger and immediately started pressuring Azerbaijan. Their efforts were rewarded in the 44th minute when captain Saba Anjum put in the only field goal of the game to even things up at one. Four minutes later Chanchan Thokchom gave the Indians their first advantage with the 2-1 penalty corner goal.
The one-goal lead stood for another 20 minutes, but India was never really in danger of surrendering the game-tying goal. But for good measure Anurhada Devi Thokchom, Chanchan’s twin sister, put in an insurance marker with two minutes left in regulation to bring the final to 3-1.
Standings after Placement Games:
5. South Africa