Ire­land make SA pay

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VIL­LIERS

SOUTH AFRICA suf­fered a 2-0 de­feat to Ire­land in their open­ing match of the World League Hockey League Semi­Fi­nals at the Wits Hockey Club.

The hosts had only them­selves to blame as they failed to cap­i­talise on five penalty cor­ners while a de­fen­sive er­ror al­lowed Ire­land a foothold early in the match.

South Africa lacked com­po­sure in the first quar­ter of the en­counter con­ced­ing a goal 10 min­utes into the match.

Coun­ter­ing from a South African at­tack Ire­land man­aged to get the ball across the face of the goal box af­ter Neal Glassey failed to get the ball out of the cir­cle.

South Africa played with greater pur­pose in the sec­ond quar­ter as they man­aged more cir­cle pen­e­tra­tions.

The home side had their first real op­por­tu­nity to­wards the lat­ter part of the sec­ond quar­ter earn­ing the first penalty cor­ner of the match.

Austin Smith’s penalty cor­ner drag was well saved by keeper David Harte, who had to de­fend the goal two more times be­fore the whis­tle for half-time.

Re­ceiv­ing two penalty cor­ners within two min­utes South Africa’s pres­sure was look­ing to pay off.

De­spite a bevy of shots on goal, Harte re­mained in con­trol, leav­ing the Proteas frus­trated.

Earn­ing their first penalty cor­ner of the match in the 47th minute, Ire­land made the best of the scor­ing op­por­tu­nity to dou­ble their lead cour­tesy of Shane O’Donoghue.

South Africa were re­duced to 11 play­ers with 10 min­utes to go when Matthew Guise-Brown was shown a green card.

To add in­sult to in­jury the home side’s fight­back was fur­ther com­pli­cated when Dayaan Cassiem was sent off with a yel­low card leav­ing South African with only 10 men on the field with three min­utes re­main­ing in the match.

The score­line may not re­flect it but the two sides were far more evenly poised with South Africa con­ceded 50 turnovers com­pared to Ire­land’s 45.

In terms of cir­cle pen­e­tra­tions South Africa made 25 to the 27 by the vis­i­tors while South Africa had 51 per­cent of the pos­ses­sion.

South Africa will next face Germany on Thurs­day while the na­tional women’s side will play against Ar­gentina on Wed­nes­day.

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