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South Africa qualify for Olympics
March 13, 2004 19:39 IST
South Africa, trailing 1-2 with five seconds left, squeezed out a 6-5 aggregate victory against Belgium via the tie-breaker to qualify for the hockey competition of the Athens Olympics.
With the extra-time proving unproductive, the tie-breaker was introduced. The teams finished their five strokes at 3-3, leading to the sudden-death.
Ian Symons converted for South Africa while a nervous Jean-Phillippe Brule make a weak push and goalkeeper Dave Staniforth easily saved to give his team a 4-3 verdict.
South Africa thus finished seventh in the competition, but they will have to await the decision on Greece's appeal for automatic qualification to the Athens Games.
If the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) upholds the appeal, South Africa will lose its Olympic spot.
During regulation time, Belgium took a 2-0 lead on goals by Charles Vandeweghe (11th) and Brule (9th), but then missed quite a few chances to allow South Africa back into the game.
The South Africans made it 1-2 in the 14th minute when Eric Rose-Innes converted a penalty-corner, and with five seconds left on the clock in the second-half, Clark scored the equaliser to force the match into extra-time.
During the 15-minute "golden goal" period, both sides missed chances. In the tie-breaker, Greg Nicol, Symons and Craig Fulton converted for South Africa while Wayne Denne and Steve Evans pushed weakly into the goalkeeper.
For Belgium, Brule, Marc Coudron and Giles Petre came good in the tie-breaker, but Maxime Luycs pushed wide and Xavier Reckingers attempt went into the goalkeeper.