Team GB step up hockey gold defence with win over South Africa

The side, who won gold in Rio de Janeiro five years ago, suffered defeat during their opening match of the Tokyo Olympics against Germany on Sunday

Team GB, however, bounced back from that loss by beating South Africa 4-1 on Monday thanks to goals from Lily Owsley, Laura Unsworth and a brace from Ellie Rayer.

The win boosts the side’s hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals as they are now sat third in Group A after their opening two matches.

After losing their first match, Team GB knew they needed a victory against South Africa but they got off to a bad start.

The Springboks went close from a penalty corner and then they did take the lead from one courtesy of Nicole Walraven, who was unmarked at the back post to tap home.

As they did in their opening game against Germany, Team GB dominated lots of possession early on – but they couldn’t break their opponents down. Frustration was building but then, just before half-time, they equalised as Rayer flicked home Sarah Jones’ shot.

And Team GB could have taken the lead just before the break, however Shona McCallin somehow missed from just yards out.

They were not to be denied, though, and nine minutes into the third quarter Great Britain took the lead. Anna Toman fired in a strike from a penalty corner and Owsley, one of the heroes from Rio in 2016, was able to deftly flick it over the goalkeeper and into the net.

Minutes later it was 3-1 as Unsworth intercepted Lenise Marais’ 16 before firing the ball home through the goalkeeper’s legs.

Team GB went into the final quarter knowing victory was assured, but they well and truly wrapped it up as Rayer got her second with 10 minutes to go. Sarah Robertson found her unmarked with a brilliant aerial pass and Rayer made no mistake when left one on one with the keeper.

Team GB are next in action on Wednesday when they will take on India, who lost their opening match to the Netherlands.

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