New Delhi: South Africa beat Canada 4-1 to cruise into the final of women's hockey Olympic qualifiers played at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Friday.

South Africa had already qualified for Saturday's final, with three wins and a surprise draw against Italy, while Canada had struggled so far in the competition, accumulating only a win against Poland and a draw on the opening day against Italy.

The first scoring attempt was by Canadian Natalie Sourisseau and it nearly surprised Vuyisanani Mangisa in the South African goal.

Canada were taking the game to South Africa, and were rewarded in the 16th minute when Thea Culley received the ball with space and time in front of the goal, after a decisive circle penetration by Hannah Haughn.

It was a wake-up call for South Africa as they started to push the pace of play and equalised by Sulette Damons on a confusing sequence in front of Kaitlyn Williams in the Canadian goal.

They had a penalty-corner soon after but with Pietie Coetzee on the bench at that time, could not capitalise on it.

Canada had a chance by Katie Baker, showing great individual skills to break through the South African defence but her shot shaved the outside of the post. The pace of play was fast and the match entertaining, though there was no more score in the period.

South Africa gained a penalty-corner at the beginning of second half, with Coetzee's powerful flick well saved by Kaitlyn Williams. Coetzee was unsuccessful again on her second attempt.

South Africa finally scored on their next penalty-corner, using an option that ended with Dirkie Chamberlain deflecting the ball in goal.

Canada were under pressure now but held tight in defence and managed to create some chances by Kate Gillis and Haughn.

South Africa increased their tally in the last ten minutes of play, Chamberlain scoring twice in quick succession to complete her hat-trick.

Williams, having an excellent match in the Canadian goal, saved a penalty-stroke from Coetzee in the final minute of the match, which ended with a fourth win for South Africa in the round-robin stages.

In another encounter, Ukraine defeated Poland 1-0 and will now play for 3rd-4th place.

(Agencies)