Brave SA Hockey Men's Tokyo dreams end with 4-4 draw to Canada
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CAPE TOWN - Canada broke the hearts of a brave South African Men's hockey team with a late equalizer to level up the game at 4-4 in their final Pool B clash at the Tokyo Olympics.
After their brilliant victory over Germany on Thursday, South Africa needed another win to qualify for the quarter-finals, but they fell just short in another thrilling clash.
The South Africans were certainly highly motivated from the outset as they raced into a two-goal lead within the first chukker.
A wonderful team movement found Nick Spooner in the circle, who crossed the ball for Nqobile Ntuli to slap the ball home in the just the second minute.
The lead was doubled shortly afterwards when Dayaan Cassiem produced excellent stick work down the left flank to drive into the circle before offering Nick Spooner a simple chance to put South Africa 2-0 ahead.
But Canada are an equally gritty outfit and never gave up at any point and hit back through two goals from Mark Pearson and Keagan Pereira as the teams went into the halftime interval all square at 2-2.
The second half was a virtual carbon copy with Matthew Guise-Brown handing South Africa the lead again by reacting first to a rebound off a short corner before Justin Wallace equalized again.
South Africa would have thought that they had found the elusive winner when Samkelo Mvimbi produced an excellent finish while floored on the astro.
It was a goal worthy of winning this enthralling contest, but as they showed throughout the game, the Canadians came back once more to equalize at 4-4 just moments later through Gabriel Go-Harcia.
The South Africans were devastated at the final whistle with the players left sprawled across the astro turf as they had come so close to realizing a fairytale.
Meanwhile, the South African Women's hockey team went down to Germany 4-1 in an earlier match on Friday morning.
They have one match remaining against India on Saturday morning.
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