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Hockey: China held by South Africa in women’s Junior World Cup

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July 27, 2013: China twice gave up a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 with South Africa in Pool B on the opening day of the women’s Ergo Junior World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany. Korea lost 4-1 to the USA in Pool A, while India lost 6-1 to Australia in Pool C in the U-21 competition.

 

China were 2-0 and a 3-1 ahead, before South Africa rallied and equalised in the last minute through Quanita Bobbs.

 

“Most of our players are under 18, so they have little experience, especially in international matches, so we are learning. We think we can do better,” said China coach Xu Dongguo.

 

Although South Africa had five players with senior experience in their team, the young Chinese girls were the dominant side in the first half. China won two penalty corners early in the match but failed to score from either of them.

 

1fu07273592..m.w580.h435In the 23rd minute, Liu Yuyue’s attempt hit the post, before Sun Jing eventually put China in the lead a few seconds later.

 

South Africa created a promising scoring opportunity towards the end of the first half when Jacinta Jubb won her team’s first penalty corner. The flick was well taken, but China’s goalkeeper Ye Jiao saved the ball with her glove.

 

Three minutes before halftime, Lui Meng beat several defenders and eventually goalkeeper Phumelela Mbande to double the Chinese lead.

 

Pushed forward by their fans, South Africa had a powerful start into the second half with captain Izelle Lategan getting her team on the scoreboard. Shortly after, the African champions were close to equalising but the Chinese defence stood strong.

 

Suddenly, it was China scoring against the run of play as Zhang Jinrong converted a penalty corner in the 51st minute to secure a convincing 3-1 lead.

 

However, South Africa struck back again when Suléke Brand scored from a penalty corner variation. The equaliser came from another penalty corner awarded in the last minute of the match. Bobbs, one of the five players with senior experience, smashed the ball into the goal ahead of the final whistle.

 

fu07274104..m.w580.h435Korea (pictured right) actually led in their match against the USA when Cheon Eun-bi scored toward the end of the first half, but Tara Vittese equalised within a minute following a counterattack.

 

The wind and rain picked up at the beginning of the second half and when lightning started, the teams returned to the halftime tents as the pitch became waterlogged. It was almost an hour until the match finally resumed, with the Americans scoring through Anna Dessoye, Emma Bozek and Vittese with her second.

 

India struggled against an Australia side including Anna Flanagan, the FIH Young Player of the Year. Anupa Barla putting India on the score board to make it 2-1, but the Jillaroos quickly resumed control of the game, scoring three times in each half.

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