JOHANNESBURG – Reduced to the bottom of their pool, the South African men’s team suffered an embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Egypt in their latest World Hockey League semi-final clash on Saturday.
The Proteas went on a self-sabotaging mission as they blew almost every single chance they had to put the game away.
Needing a victory to stay among the top four sides in the pool to clinch a quarter-final berth, they now need to beat the fifth-ranked team in the world, Belgium, in Johannesburg on Monday.
South Africa had 13 shots at goal, while they were awarded eight penalty corners with almost nothing to show for it. The Egyptians, in turn, had more cards than opportunities with only 40 percent of the possession, two shots at goal and two shots at goal.
In an ill-disciplined encounter, Egypt had a man or two short on the pitch for a total of 26 minutes of the game through three green and four yellow cards.
Without a single shot at goal in the first quarter, the sides finally exchanged blows two minutes form the halftime break, with Egypt opening the scoring.
Houssam Ghobran landed the blow, but Egypt’s celebrations were soon extinguished, with South Africa equalising 30 seconds later with Dan Sibbald hitting the back of the goal-box.
The home side had another golden opportunity to take the lead when Ignatius Malgraff missed a shot shortly after the restart. Dayaan Cassiem set up the shot for Malgraff, who got his angle towards the box wrong, with the ball deflecting away from the open goal.
Instead of South Africa enjoying the advantage, it was Egypt that went into the final quarter courtesy of a second Ghobran goal for the knockout goal.
Meanwhile, the South African women’s team will face the United States on Sunday, which is a must-win game if they are to advance to the quarter-finals.