Debutants South Africa silenced two-time champions India with a sensational 5-4 victory in the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium today.
It was Cameron Forestier, who was awarded man of the match, instrumental in seeing to South Africa’s victory and India’s defeat with two goals in the last quarter of the match.
Coach S.K. Kumar side, marshalled by seven players from the 2021 Junior World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India, and four from the 2019 edition of the SOJC, ruffled the South Africans after Goy Elliot’s players took a 1-0 lead through Marvin Simone in the seventh minute via field goal.
The Indians, who clawed host Malaysia 5-2 in their opening match of the tournament on Saturday, quickly stayed on top of their opponents following Shardanand Tiwari’s brace in the ninth and 10th minutes to give India a 2-1 lead.
Captain Uttam Singh then extended the lead in the 17th minute from a field goal following quick counterattacks down the right flank, smashing the ball into the net past goalkeeper Kamvva Dyakala.
“There was no magic. We just rallied back at India in search of the goals. It was a great match against India. We still have a lot to learn from this victory and continue with our attacking approach,” said South Africa coach Guy Elliot.
India’s team manager Mohamad Alam congratulated the South Africans for the win and said they will review their performance.
“We had a lot of opportunities too and wish we had scored. It was a good game and we will learn from this defeat. South Africa is a very good and strong side,” said Alam.
But the South Africans were hardly demotivated. Instead they rallied back with determination and their attacking machinery caught the Indian defence off guard with counterattacks’.
The offensive show by South Africa produced inspiring results. Fawaaz Kahder and Senzwishle Ngubane converted two penalty corner opportunities to level score 3-3.
But luck was on India’s side in the last few seconds of the third quarter. Sudeep Chirmako slipped the ball past goalkeeper Akani Malik to put the Indians 4-3 ahead.
In the most exciting match between India and South Africa, hockey fans were treated to an amazing show of skills and determination to win. South Africa pushed through and earned two goals – Cameron Forestier scored a brace in the 49th and 57th minutes to give his side a sensational 5-4 victory over the two-time champions in their first tour in the Sultan of Johor Cup.
(Press release: Sultan of Johor Cup Media Team)