The Canadian women lost another close game tonight at the Commonwealth Games, this time against South Africa (2-0), after staying level with their more experienced opponents until late in second period.
After their close opening match against India, the Canadians were up against South Africa, ranked 11th in the world. The South Africans were on a positive momentum, having finished 9th at the recent World Cup, and having opened their 2014 Commonwealth campaign with a… 16-0 crushing of Trinidad & Tobago.
The opening stage of the match was rather balanced, but South Africa made the most of their opportunities, forcing Kaitlyn Williams to stand tall in goal in the 5th minute to deflect a shot from close range.
South Africa were circulating the ball fluidly in the backfield, forcing the Canadian to run permanently after them. The Canadian defence was holding well around Danielle Hennig, but Williams was kept busy in goal while the South African goal-keeper was hardly seeing any action. She was however in danger after a long run by Poonan Sandhu, who ran fifty meters through the South African defence and nearly found Brienne Stairs in the traffic in front of goal.
This action boosted the Canadians and their counter-attacks became bolder, well supported by the local crowd cheering loudly for them. They could however not create real danger in the circle and the half-time break was reached on a goalless score, and the general impression that the match could switch either way on a detail.
Canada survived a yellow card to a defender at the beginning of second period, but South Africa finally opened the scoring in the 52nd minute by veteran Dirkie Chamberlain, from a scramble in front of the goal that left the Canadian defence confused. Chamberlain scored again in similar circumstances three minutes later, consolidating her position as top scorer of this competition.
These two goals in quick succession seemed to take the wind out of the Canadian sails and they could not generate enough efficient danger to close the gap before the final whistle.
The Canadian team now have a day to rest before playing their Pan American rivals Trinidad & Tobago on Sunday (2:00pm).