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Hockey: GB teams take step towards Tokyo Olympics

PUBLISHED: 19:55 02 November 2019 | UPDATED: 19:55 02 November 2019

Great Britain's women celebrate a goal against Chile (pic GB Hockey)

Great Britain's women celebrate a goal against Chile (pic GB Hockey)

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Great Britain's men and women took important steps towards qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with first-leg wins in their qualifying ties on Saturday.

Great Britain's men celebrate a goal against Malaysia (pic GB Hockey)Great Britain's men celebrate a goal against Malaysia (pic GB Hockey)

The women - having won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics - beat Chile 3-0 at the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre, after a scoreless first half.

Izzy Petter opened the scoring for Mark Hager's side - who included Hampstead & Westminster duo Lily Owsley and Sarah Robertson - after the interval with the best goal of the game, before Hannah Martin scrambled home a second from close range and Anna Toman saw a penalty corner deflected high into the net.

But it was by no means comfortable against the south Americans and the first goal in Sunday's second leg will be crucial as both teams look to book their trips to Japan.

Martin said: "We're very pleased but we've got our feet firmly on the ground, we've got a job to do tomorrow and we're looking forward to getting back out there.

"Of course I'm happy to score but at the end of the day it doesn't matter who gets on the scoresheet, we're here as a team and we want to get to the Olympics as a squad.

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"Coming into tomorrow we'll have the same gameplan to get in there and hopefully get the job done."

Four goals in the space of 14 minutes saw the GB men - including Hampstead & Westminster's Harry Martin, Will Calnan and Jacob Draper - secure a 4-1 win over Malaysia.

Behind after only six minutes, Britain turned on the style in the second half with some brilliant goals.

Phil Roper's rocket-like finish was unstoppable, while Sam Ward, Alan Forsyth and James Gall all finished off fine tam moves.

Malaysia applied pressure in the close stages and went close to a second, leaving it all to play for on Sunday.

Roper said: "We're feeling pretty good. We knew that the Malaysians were going to come out and pose a real threat to us. We know they start hard but we backed our game plan, especially in the second half, and it was great to score those four goals.

"It's such a huge occasion so we knew that there would be a few nerves flying around in the first-half but once we settled down we knew our ball control and intensity would win us that game and thankfully it did."

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