| London: Defending champions the Netherlands moved into the semi-finals of the Olympic women`s hockey tournament on Saturday by defeating South Korea 3-2 for their fourth successive victory in London.
The Dutch were given a tough contest by Korea before sealing a win that gave them a maximum 12 points at the top of Pool A. Hosts Great Britain, on nine points from three matches, play China on Saturday.
Meanwhile Australia rode on Jade Close`s early field goal to prevail 1-0 over South Africa and so move ahead of the pack in Pool B with nine points from four matches.
World champions Argentina, New Zealand and Germany, all of whom play later Saturday, are clubbed together on six points from three fixtures.
South Korea`s Cheon Seul Ki converted two penalty corners to trouble the Dutch, who got all their goals in open play.
Cheon opened the scoring by sending a drag-flick into the top corner in the fifth minute, but the lead lasted just five minutes, later with Kelly Jonker`s reverse deflection of captain Maartje Paumen`s shot drawing the Dutch level.
Ellen Hogg`s open-field strike four minutes later gave the Dutch the lead and Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel made it 3-1 a minute after half-time.
Cheon pulled another goal back with a penalty corner shot in the 64th minute to keep South Korea in the contest until the end.
The Koreans though have just three points from four matches.
Goalkeeper Toni Cronk blocked a series of shots as Australia managed to thwart South Africa`s late charge, in which they forced three penalty corners in the final six minutes.
Earlier, Close picked up a well directed shot from top of the circle to shoot home in the eighth minute and Australia then managed to defend the lead against the hard-working South Africans, yet to earn a point in four matches.
First Published: Saturday, August 04, 2012, 20:47