SA hockey men edged by Malaysia

2014-03-14 00:00

THE world’s 12th-ranked South Africa men’s hockey team were edged 3-2 by world number 13 Malaysia after the scores were locked 1-1 at half-time in the opening round of the 23rd Azlan Shah Cup tournament in the city of Ipoh in Malaysia yesterday.

On a humid evening, SA withstood early pressure and in the sixth minute keeper Rassie Pieterse made a reflex glove save to his left from a flying deflection, but in the 10th Shahril Saabah was on the end of a fierce cross from the right for the opening goal.

In the 14th, Clint Panther stole around the left-hand baseline and nifty stick work enabled older brother Brandon to win the first penalty corner. A second penalty corner followed after Jethro Eustice’s drag-flick caught the first-wave defender’s foot.

Eustice chose the same option and the turf-sizzler evaded keeper Haffizudan Othman to his left for the equaliser in the 16th minute.

The singing home crowd exploded in the eighth minute of the second half (43rd) when player of the-match Baharom took a quick self-pass to score from an acute angle on the left.

Penalty corners came and went, but the brave SA defence repelled the threat and in the 55th the Africans won a sixth penalty corner.

The world-class combination of corner injector Robinson and trapper Tim Drummond did their bit, and drag-flicker Eustice made no mistake for the equaliser 2-2.

A superb block by Robinson stopped yet another Malaysia penalty corner and Dylan Swanepoel made one of many fine tackles by the SA defenders during the match shortly after, but Faizal Saari kept his composure to make it 3-2 from a penalty corner in the 62nd minute.

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