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Ten-goal thriller as South Africa are edged by Malaysia

The South Africa men’s hockey team were defeated 6-4 by world number 13 Malaysia in front of a full house at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor, Malaysia Sunday night, writes Jon Cook from London.

The result came on the back of Malaysia’s 4-4 draw with world number five Pakistan on Saturday and South Africa’s 3-3 draw with world number four England, the English equalising in the last minute.

World No12 South Africa went into this second-round match in Pool B of the World League Semi-Final tournament against a country they had beaten 3-0 in a four-Test series in Potchefstroom and Johannesburg in early June.

The Malaysians were spurred on by their vociferous fans on Sunday and Faizal Saari opened the scoring from a fourth-minute penalty corner, which was followed with another PC goal in the 15th minute when Razie Rahim’s drag flick took the score to 2-0.

SA came back hard, winning penalty corners, and in the 26th minute Jethro Eustice pulled one back for a half-time score of 2-1 to Malaysia. Two minutes after the changeover the score was 2-2 when Wade Paton smashed the ball into the backboard.

But Razie’s 46th-minute drag flick made it 3-2 to Malaysia and in the 54th minute Fitri Saari set free elder brother Faizal Saari for a backhand smash that flew past South African goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse to give Malaysia a 4-2 lead.

Two minutes after the re-start SA striker Miguel da Graca found space to pull the score back to 4-3 in Malaysia’s favour. Fitri Saari took the score to 5-3 in the 58th minute when he produced a reverse-stick shot to match his brother’s goal.

Razie’s poorly taken penalty stroke in the 61st minute was easily saved by Erasmus but Mohd Marhan Jalil gave Malaysia a three-goal cushion when he made use of a loose ball in the strike zone.

Trailing 6-3 with seven minutes left, SA had it all to do and did manage to reduce the deficit when Tim Drummond’s neat finish made the final score 6-4 to the home nation.

SA meet Pakistan in their final Pool B match at 3 pm (SA time) Tuesday in a clash to be televised live on SuperSport 7.


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