AAG: Coetzee hat-trick seals win over India |
October 25, 2003
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October 24 2003 at 09:12PM
Star striker Pietie Coetzee's hat-trick clinched women's African champion South Africa's 3-1 victory against Commonwealth title holder India on Friday, securing their passage into the semifinals of the Afro-Asian Games women's field hockey event.
Coetzee's three strikes in open field play shaped South Africa's second successive victory in Pool A. They trounced Kazakhstan 12-0 on Thursday.
Former Asian champion South Korea also made the semi-finals from Pool B, outplaying Africa's second-ranked Nigeria 6-0 for its second league win. South Korea had beat Kenya 5-0 in its first outing.
South Africa played aggressive hockey to avenge its loss to India in last year's Commonwealth Games at Manchester, where it squandered a three-goal halftime lead to lose 4-3.
"That loss was a big blow to South African hockey. I'm glad we've settled the scores now," said Ros Howell, coach of the South African team.
"India played compact hockey and any side could have won this match, but we made better use of our chances," Howell said. "We dominated for a patch to take a two-goal lead that proved vital when India came back strongly in the second half. This is our first win against India in three years, and winning in India made it memorable."
South Africa, which thrashed Nigeria 10-0 in the final of this month's All-Africa Games, surged into the lead in the 20th minute when Coetzee breached the defence on a cross from the right flank.
Coetzee was again on target four minutes later, deflecting a free-hit from Marsha Marescia past Indian goalkeeper Helen Mary. Another deflection of a diagonal free-hit into the scoring zone saw Coetzee complete her hat-trick in the 44th minute, before India pulled a goal back through Suman Bala's penalty corner conversion in the 48th.
India pressed hard in the second session, but failed to breach the South African team's robust defence.
"Our missed penalty corners tell the story of this match," said Indian team coach M K Kaushik. "We managed to convert just one penalty corner out of 10. Our forwards repeatedly faltered inside the striking circle.
"We did not show precision in our goal-bound moves," Kaushik said.
South Africa's six points from two matches assures it of a place in the semi-finals, while India's hopes of advancing depend on its match against Kazakhstan tomorrow.
Five South Korean strikers made entries in the score book as Nigeria were outpaced by the Asian Games silver medalist.
Two goals from Jeong Jin-ok in the space of six minutes were the feature of South Korea's performance after Kim Ji-eun opened the account with an open field strike in the second minute of play.
Sin Byong-ju (41st minutes) flicked in a penalty stroke and field goals by Kim Jong-eun (47th) and Kim Jin-ju (52nd) rounded off the scoring.
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