Dayaan Cassiem of South Africa challenges Conor Harte of Ireland. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

South Africa suffered a 2-0 defeat to Ireland in their opening match of the World League Hockey League Semi-Finals at the Wits Hockey Club on Sunday.

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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The Star