Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

South Africa thrashed Malaysia 6-3 to avoid a bottom-place finish in the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 at the Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela on Thursday.

While, Sherwood Bradley scored a brace for the winning team in the eighth and 56th minutes respectively, Morgan Guy (16th minute), Ntuli Nqobile (25th), Horne Keenan (42nd minute) and Cassiem Mustaphaa (43rd) struck a goal each.

On the other hand, Rahim Razie (34th and 56th minutes) found the back of the net twice for Malaysia. Ashari Firhan sounded the board once in the 56th minute.

Proteas were clearly the dominating side in the match. They created as many as six penalty corner opportunities and converted one of those chances. Meanwhile, Malaysia earned as many as four penalty corners. However, they could grab the opportunity only once.

The Proteas put tremendous pressure on the opposition from the word go. They created their first PC chance in the third minute but wasted the opportunity. Sherwood Bradley opened the account for the team through a brilliant field goal as early as the eighth minute of the match. They created two back-to-back PCs in the 11th minute, but could not capitalize.

In the second quarter, they earned four more PCs. Morgan Guy converted it in the 16th minute to double the lead. Ntuli Nqobile went on to increase their lead to 3-0 in the 25th minute through a scintillating field goal. Malaysia tried to make amends and earned a PC in the 28th minute, but couldn’t make the most of it. The first half ended 3-0 in favour of South Africa.

In the second half, Malaysia counter-attacked and got three back-to-back PCs in the 34th minute. The last one was converted by Rahim Razie in the 34th minute to reduce the lead to 1-3. South Africa retaliated and Horne Keenan struck a field goal in the 42nd minute to make it 4-2 in their favour. Cassiem Mustaphaa capitalized on a field stroke just after a minute. However, Malaysia showed their flashes of brilliance with Rahim Razie converting a penalty stroke just two minute after.

In the final quarter, Sherwood Bradley stretched Proteas lead to 5-2 by scoring a field goal. Ashari Firhan from the opposition side reduced the margin for Malaysia immediately to 3-6 through a scintillating field goal.