Hit six of the best

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - ZAAHIER ADAMS

SOUTH Africa fought bravely at a windy Hartleyvale but ul­ti­mately came un­stuck against a vastly more ex­pe­ri­enced Nether­lands side in the open­ing en­counter of the Cape Town Summer Se­ries.

The slick pass­ing of the Dutch side showed their class dur­ing the sec­ond chukka when they took the lead af­ter some good in­ter­play by the halves in mid­field.

The open­ing goal came cour­tesy of some im­pres­sive play from the Ar­gen­tinian-born Valentin Verga. The striker struck a vi­cious re­verse-stick shot goal­wards which al­lowed Thierry Brinkman to de­flect it past South Africa’s goal­keeper Gowan Jones. Brinkman showed good re­flexes to lunge at the ball be­fore it reached Jones.

The vis­i­tors were cer­tainly en­joy­ing the strong wind at their backs as they launched an­other pro­duc­tive at­tack shortly af­ter the open­ing goal. Fel­low striker Marco Prui­jser added his name to the score­sheet af­ter some good play by Lars Balk in the lead-up to the goal.

The change of ends cer­tainly aided the home side who were a lot more com­fort­able play­ing with the wind at their backs. They used it to their im­me­di­ate ad­van­tage with Jonty Robin­son col­lect­ing a long pass and break­ing free in­side the Dutch “D” within the first minute of the restart. Robin­son turned sweetly past the Nether­lands de­fender to get the ball back on to his strong side be­fore un­leash­ing a pile driver into the right top cor­ner which gave the vis­it­ing goal­keeper Pirmin Blaak no chance.

The joy was short-lived though with the Dutch hit­ting back strongly by forc­ing a short cor­ner. The “Oranje Army’s” short-cor­ner tac­tics are among the most feared in the world and they duly showed why when Tris­tan Al­gera stepped up and slapped a low shot past Jones in the South African goal to re­store the Nether­land’s two-goal ad­van­tage.

Daayan Cassiem showed en­ter­pris­ing skill up­front for South Africa on his in­ter­na­tional de­but with the 18-year-old’s speed prov­ing to be a con­stant men­ace.

The home side were duly re­warded for their con­stant pres­sure when Gareth Heyns re­duced the deficit once more through a de­flec­tion af­ter South Africa had earned an­other short cor­ner.

How­ever, South Africa’s dis­ci­pline let them down in the lat­ter stages of the third and fi­nal chukka with Cassiem’s in­ex­pe­ri­ence cost­ing his team dearly when he re­ceived a yel­low card for slap­ping the ball goal­wards af­ter the ref­eree’s whis­tle had al­ready been blown. Robin­son also later re­ceived a yel­low card.

The Dutch made the South Africans pay with Bob de Voogdt, Jip Janssen adding to the tally be­fore Prui­jser’s closed off pro­ceed­ings with his sec­ond.

They face off again on Wed­nes­day at 8pm.

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