SA HOCKEY MEN BEAT MALAYSIA 3-1
South African hockey witnessed arguably its biggest-ever crowd at Randburg Hockey Stadium Tuesday night and the fans weren’t disappointed when the lads in green and gold beat Malaysia 3-1 in the fourth and final Test after leading 1-0 at half-time, a result that leaves SA 3-0 series winners.
SA won the first Test 2-1 and the second Test 3-1 while the third Test was a 4-4 draw.
SA opened the scoring thanks to Wade Paton’s 15th-minute penalty stroke after Clint Panther was upended in the strike zone.
Both sides had great chances during the match but a combination of superb goalkeeping and defending kept the scoreboard quiet.
Turnovers came and went as the game became looser but the crowd erupted in the 55th minute when SA conjured up a slide-rule move down the right for Pierre de Voux to smash the ball past goalkeeper Kairulnizam Ibrahim (2-0).
Malaysia hit back in the 57th when Chua Boon Huat set up Ahmad Tajudin Tengku’s magnificent reverse-stick blast that ripped into the net (2-1).
Malaysia won their first PC on the hour-mark but outstanding keeper Rassie Pieterse saved superbly before SA broke out fast for De Voux to get in a shot that was blocked, while Firhan Asaari came agonisingly close at the other end soon after. With three minutes left Rhett Halkett steered two Malaysian penalty corners off the goalline with remarkable skill.
And to rub salt into the wounds SA broke away with Jonty Robinson at first, then De Voux and Miguel da Graca combining, before Julian Hykes made it 3-1 with a quick-fire shot that cracked into the backboard.
The teams meet again in Pool B at the World League semi-finals in Johor Bahru, Malaysia on June 30 and SA will go in with the psychological advantage.
Mugg & Bean Player of the Series was SA captain Austin Smith.