South Africa and Poland to compete in 7-8 Classification Game
Goals from Sukhwinder Singh, Matt Guest, Scott Tupper and Keegan Pereira helped Canada fight back from two goals down to defeat Poland 4-2, while a second half strike from Toshiro Tachibana gave Japan victory against South Africa in the Classification matches at the Argentina Hockey Champions Challenge in Quilmes.
The results means that Canada and Japan will face each other in the 5-6 place play-off on Sunday, while South Africa and Poland will in the meet in the 7-8 Classification match.
Extended details about both matches can be found below, with full tournament information available by clicking here.
Tachibana strike helps Japan sink South Africa
A second half strike from Toshiro Tachibana was enough to give Japan a 2-1 win over South Africa in the opening match of the day here at the Argentina Hockey Men’s Champions Challenge in Quilmes. The result puts Japan in Sunday’s 5-6 placement match, while South Africa will compete in the 7-8 classification game.
Japan were slow starters in the match and fell behind to the lively South Africans when Austin Smith both won and converted a penalty corner, sending a blistering effort into the roof of the net with only three minutes on the clock. The goal proved to be something of a wake-up call for the team from Asia, who immediately stepped up their game but despite plenty of possession failed to genuinely threaten the South Africa circle. That was until they won their first penalty corner in the 17th minute, with Katsuyoshi Nagasawa producing a low, perfectly placed drag flick to tie the score. South African captain Smith forced a double save from Japan keeper Katsuya Takese with a penalty corner late in the half, but the two teams went into the break with the scores level at 1-1.
South Africa came close to conceding with Japan’s first serious attack of the second half, and would have certainly scored were it not for Rhett Halkett, who showed full commitment to slide in and clear a goal-bound shot off the line. Japan’s second goal, which proved to be the winner, arrived in the 43rd minute when Toshiro Tachibana got ahead of his man to deflect a cross from the right past South Africa keeper Jacques le Roux before Katsuyoshi Nagasawa went close to making it 3-1 with a penalty corner drag-flick.
South Africa battled hard in the latter stages of the match and would surely have scored were it not for more goalkeeping heroics from Takese. Arguably their best chance of the second half came with just three minutes remaining through Nicholas Gonsalves, who failed to hit the target with a close range deflection before Japan ran down the clock to seal the victory.
To see the official match sheet, please click here.
Gregg Clark (RSA Coach)
“The match was just what I expected. I think we were a better team in terms of performance, but the score doesn’t reflect that. We had more penalty corners and more chances on goal than them, but we just not getting the job done at the moment.”
“Tomorrow’s match is very important for us. It’s a relegation match, and there are a lot of reasons to win tomorrow.”
Austin Smith (RSA Captain)
“We created a lot of chances that no-one scored, and that has happened to us in the past two or three games. Now we find ourselves in a very difficult situation, playing for the relegation match. That is a frustration.”
Shunsuke Nagahoka (JPN Coach)
“I’m happy with the performance. The players wanted to win the match and worked hard together for that. South Africa played very well but they were not lucky today. I wanted to end this tournament in the top four, but we had a short time for our preparation so we are now aiming for fifth place.”
Toshiro Tachibana (JPN Scorer)
“Today we are happy because we got a victory. We didn’t beat them in the Pool, but we could do it today. We are happy because we improved our skills today.”
We came to this tournament aiming to finish in the top four, but now we have changed our focus and we want to end in the fifth place.”
Poland defeated by Canada fight-back
Goals from Sukhwinder Singh, Matt Guest, Scott Tupper and Keegan Pereira helped Canada fight back from two goals down to defeat Poland 4-2 in the second match of the day here in Quilmes. The result means that Canada have sealed a place in Sunday’s 5-6 place play-off, where they will face Japan, who were victors against South Africa earlier in the day. Poland will play South Africa in the 7-8 Classification match.
Very much like their match against Argentina on Thursday, Canada were sluggish starters in this encounter and soon found themselves 2-0 down. Poland striker Matias Hulboj hit a quick-fire double between the 10th and 12th minutes, with team captain Dariusz Rachwalski having a hand in both goals. Eventually Canada settled and began to look dangerous going forward before pulling a goal back through Sukhwinder Singh, who tapped in from close range following some nice build-up play in the 22nd minute. Canada’s equaliser arrived six minutes later minutes later when a smart cross from the right was expertly converted by the diving Matt Guest.
The north Americans soaked up a great deal of Polish pressure in the early stages of the second half, and could easily have fallen behind once again when the dangerous Hulboj fired over the crossbar with an instinctive effort. As in the first period, Canada grew in confidence as the half progressed. Jagdesh Gill went close to scoring with a fierce strike from the right before Scott Tupper moved his team into a 3-2 lead thanks to a penalty corner rocket 12 minutes from the end. It was a goal which seemed to the break the spirit of the Poles, and it was not long before Canada hit a fourth goal thanks to Keegan Pereira’s 62nd minute field goal which completed the scoring.
To see the official match sheet, please click here.
Anthony Farry (CAN Coach)
“I think that they guys deserve all the credit for this victory. Coming back from 2-0 down is always a tough thing, especially in matches like this. Poland put us under a lot of pressure and are a very tough team, so I’m really proud of the guys today.”
Scott Tupper (CAN Captain)
“Obviously in any match you don’t want to fall behind, so it was a bit disappointing early, but I think this was a hugely rewarding result for the team, as we showed that we are capable of coming back from a deficit, and scoring four goals was really nice. Once we got the two goal lead in the second half we had the professionalism to get the result. It was really nice to see.”
Karol Sniekek (POL Coach)
“We made few mistakes. If you can’t score in the field, you must score in penalty corners. But today our penalty corners didn’t work. We had three penalty corners and missed them. If we score like they did in the second half, you gain the the lead and then it is a completely different match. However, when you are losing you can’t play to your tactics. We played better than the first game against Canada, but with no fortune. We have to learn a lot from this tournament.”
Dariusz Rachwalski (POL Captain)
“It’s always hard to lose a game. Today we created a lot of chances. Unfortunately our penalties corners in the game were not good, because we had two or three today and we didn’t make the most of them.
“We were winning in the first half and at that time, we couldn’t control the game. I think that the top teams can control the game very well, and using the counter attack they can score more goals, just like Ireland did against us on Thursday. We made stupid mistakes, so that is why we lost today.”