Jr hockey World Cup: South Africa, Pakistan, Poland, Korea win classification matches


South Africa overcome a determined Canadian resistance while Pakistan bounced back to overwhelm the United States in classification matches for 9-16 places at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup here on Tuesday. Chile conceded a goal in the final minute of the match by Poland before Korea and Egypt recorded a thrilling 3-3 draw before the Koreans broke Egyptian hearts in a shoot-out.

On a day of agony and ecstasy, South Africa got the better of Canada 7-3. For the first 15 minutes, Canada and South Africa defended solidly and there was little opportunity for either side to break the deadlock.

The breakthrough came in the 16th minute when Player of the Match Cameron le Forestier scored the first of a hat-trick of goals. All three of his strikes came courtesy of some swift build-up play by the African team, and the striker was on hand to send the ball past Zackary Coombs in the Canada goal.

Following that opening goal, it was still an even match with Canada working hard to get back on terms but a second goal from Idrees Abdulla in the 26th minute and then a penalty stroke scored by captain Guy Morgan effectively ended Canada’s hopes of a first win. They did score three goals in a flurry of activity in the final quarter but by then South Africa had scored four more goals, including a second for Morgan, and for Indy Sehmbi’s team it was just too late.

The result means South Africa will face Pakistan in the next match as they contest 9-12 place. Canada will play continental neighbours the USA as they seek a first win of the tournament.

Pakistan, were too strong for the United States as they picked apart their rivals during an 18-2 win.

Pakistan smoothly moved into top gear, the USA players gave the attackers far too much room and seemed unable to find a structure of their own for much of the game. That said, the USA never stopped trying to find their own groove, and Finlay Quaile was able to make the most of two penalty corner opportunities. This was small compensation for the fact that most of the match saw Pakistan dominating play.

The match started evenly, with the USA creating their own chances but when Abuzar scored in the 14th minute, the Pakistan team seemed to reach for a new level of speed, pace, and ingenuity. Six goals in the second half put the game beyond doubt but still, the Pakistan team poured forwards, exploring every attacking avenue. Captain Abdul Rana scored four goals and the Player of the Match award and he was joined on the score sheet by 11 of his teammates. Pakistan Head Coach Danish Kaleem had been looking for answers after the team failed to deliver in the pool matches and, in this game, his players found the answers.

Poland got the better of Chile 2-1. Chile’s hearts were broken by the last-minute goal by Tomasz Bembenek as the forward scored the winner for Poland in the final minute of play. Daniel Beroggi had given Chile the lead in the first quarter through a well-placed penalty corner before Julian Blaskiewicz brought Poland level.

From that moment the game was played at a ferocious pace as both teams sensed a win was within their grasp. However, it was the calm precision of Bembenek that proved the difference and sees Poland moving on to contest 9-12 place in the next match. The result means Poland will now play Korea in the battle for a ninth-place finish, while Chile will take on Egypt.

Korea made the grade with a 6-5 shoot-out win following a 3-3 draw. Egypt’s goalkeeper Mahmoud Seleem can take comfort from the fact that he has enjoyed an outstanding tournament even if his team has yet to record a win. While Egypt has conceded 31 goals so far, with three fired in by Korea on Tuesday, Seleem has made some remarkable saves, including a save from a penalty strike during this match. The teams were evenly matched in the opening quarter but Korea began to gain momentum as the game developed.



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