|April 30th, 2012|
|9||Pool A||6:30pm||CHN - RSA||2 - 5 (0 - 3)||Final|
China 2, South Africa 5
South Africa won the battle of the unbeatens in the first major meeting of this Olympic Qualifier, topping China in a solid 5-2 victory. The win puts South Africa and Japan atop of the standings, each with three wins in the three games. The two teams will meet when the men’s tournament resumes on Wednesday.
The teams started tentatively, but soon enough South Africa found its scoring touch thanks to the fancy flicking of Justin Reid-Ross who fired the 1-0 goal into the upper left corner to break the scoring silence. A defensive lapse by China led to the 2-0 goal for South Africa when they found themselves on a breakaway. The initial shot was stopped, but Ian Haley put in the second effort.
Lloyd Norris Jones gave South Africa a convincing 3-0 lead before the break with a picture-perfect diving deflection, China had to be disappointed with the first half performance which saw a few miscues on key opportunities and only a handful of meaningful scoring chances.
Jonathan Robinson was the man of the second half for South Africa. He scored two goals in a five-minute span to give the South Africans ample breathing room. Robinson’s first marker lifted the lead to 4-0 and his second was a answer to China’s Yubo Na’s goal at the other end and was key to keeping the momentum on the South African side.
China had a few chances late in the half, but the four-goal difference was simply too much to overcome with the clock ticking as top-seeded South Africa won its first major test of the event against third-seeded China.
South Africa has another major test on Wednesday when they take on unbeaten Japan. It will be a meeting of the two top seeds in one of the most highly-anticipated games of the round robin. China will look to regroup against the Czech Republic on Wednesday before they face Japan on Friday.