|November 24th, 2012|
|3||Pool B||3:00pm||RSA - JPN||4 - 4 (2 - 1)||Final|
South Africa v Japan 4-4 (2-1): Split points in a goalfest
The encounter between South Africa and Japan was the most closely contested match in the event so far, and a rollercoaster ride as Japan took an early lead to then see South Africa run away scoring four goals in a row, but pull back with three goals in the second half.
The match had barely started when Toshiro Tachibana scored Japan's first goal, picking up a long overhead ball far up the field to lob it over Jacques Le Roux in the Southafrican goal. Needing a while to recover it took South Africa twenty minutes to get on the scoreboard, only to then score four in twenty minutes.
The four Southafrican goals included goals from Nicholas Gonsalves and veteran Lloyd Norris-Jones, but also two from plaers who had been uncapped before this event, Grant Glutz and Ignatious Malgraff who thus celebrated their initiation in style.
But just when it looked like the match was firmly in the hand of the Africans, Japan started hitting back. Kazuhiro Tsubouchi reduced the disadvantage with a goal in the 47th minute, followed by Toshiro Tachibana's second penalty corner conversion of the day, minimizing the South Africans' lead. With five minutes remaining, Katsuyoshi Nagasawa sunk another penalty corner for his team for the 4-4 equalizer.
Tim Drummond had a fabulous opportunity for the winning goal late in the match, but the diagonal shot across the circle crashed into the left post. The clock ticked down with both teams anxiously pushing for the winner but to no avail: South Africa and Japan split points on day 1 with a 4-4 draw.