Bhubaneswar, June 6: USA stunned higher-ranked South Africa 2-0 in the opening match of FIH Hockey Series Finals while Poland thrashed Uzbekistan 4-0 here on Thursday.
While the result of the Pool B match between USA and South Africa came as a big surprise, the 21st ranked Poland were expected to beat the Uzbeks, ranked 43rd, in the opening Pool A encounter.
Pawel Bratkowski (5th and 36th minutes) and Mateusz Hulboz (27th and 40th) scored a brace each to ensure a convincing win for the Polish side. Poland will next play India in their second match here Friday.
Earlier in the day after barren first three quarters, world no. 25 USA scored both their goals in the final 15 minutes to surprise the the 16th ranked South Africans.
Christian de Angelis converted a penalty corner for the Americans in the 47th minute to break the deadlock before Paul Singh scored a field goal just three minutes from the final hooter to mark a positive start to their campaign here.
It was a major surprise as the Americans hardly have any experience of playing against top hockey playing nations as compared to their South African counterparts.
South Africa had the better share of match statistics but the Americans got the all-important goals. By virtue of this win, USA now enjoy a 1-1 head-to-head record against South Africa.
USA will take on Mexico in their next match on Saturday while South Africa will be up against Asian Games gold medallist Japan.