Hockey5s through to gold medal match
25 August 2014
HOCKEY: The green and gold are one step closer to claiming the Youth Olympic Games gold medal after beating South Africa in tonight’s semi-final.
It was a defence orientated game with both sides showing great determination and composure to hold out each other on numerous occasions.
Australia held on with four men in the last seconds to win 4-3 and square the ledger with the opposition after South Africa beat them in a pool match.
“At the moment I can’t really explain how I feel. The boys have worked really hard and it’s a dream come true so far, so hopefully we can keep the dream going for one more match,” Max Hendry said.
South Africa got out to a 1-0 lead just before the first break but it wasn’t long before the Aussie’s brought it back.
Midway through the second period Nathanael Stewart slotted home the team’s first goal.
Captain Tim Howard finally scored his first goal of the tournament, deflecting off a South African defender to hit the back net.
The opposition brought the scores level with eight minutes left in the final period but Australia gained the lead again thanks to another long ranged goal from Corey Weyer.
Howard added to his tally again celebrating with a captain’s salute in front of the vocal Australian crowd to take a two goal lead into the final minutes.
Despite South Africa scoring a last minute goal, Australia held on to win 4-3.
“Our major focus coming into tonight’s game was to get a lead and hold it which was great to see because we held out all match,” Hendry said.
Howard is hoping for a similar crowd at the gold medal match after the fans inspired his team to give it their all.
“The Aussie supporters got us over the line tonight. It was an amazing experience playing in front of the crowd and I can’t thank them enough,” the Queenslander said.
Australia will now play Canada in the gold medal match on Wednesday night at 20:30 (CST) after they beat Spain in a penalty shoot-out.
The green and gold have already beaten Canada in a pool match but as Howard knows, finals are a totally different game.
“We will just go out there and do our job. Hopefully we will be on the right side of the scoreboard early and just never give up,” the inspirational captain said.
“Finals are such a massive event and whoever wants it the most will get the gold medal.”
To watch the game live, head to Olympic.tv