Hit six of the best
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.