Surprises continued this evening at the 29th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2022 International Men’s hockey tournament at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, Ipoh, when Egypt turned the tables on South Africa to win 3-0.
Egypt who had a sterling performance to only allow Japan to beat them by a goal on the opening day on Tuesday, stepped up their performance further this evening to beat South Africa, who had stunned Pakistan with a 4-1 victory on Tuesday.
South Africa’s coach Garreth Ewing was obviously disturbed by the loss, but rather wanted to look on the bright side.
“We conceded three soft goals and failed to hold on to the ball as we did against Pakistan,” said Ewing.
“But we did well to put the pressure back on Egypt despite conceding and we unlucky to have our attempts saved on the goal line and the upright denying as a goal.
“Egypt played well and took their chances and congratulations to them.
“But the battle is far from over, as we will continue to give our best for the best results in our remaining match starting with host Malaysia on Friday.”
Egypt’s Pakistan coach Zaman Tahir was elated with his team’s performance and said it was always a great feeling when winning.
“This is a good result for us because South Africa are our traditional rivals in the African Cup where we have met in the last five finals and lost,” said Zaman.
“This is our first win over them in a long time. But we realise that they are without several of their senior and experienced players here and we have to take account of that.
“But a win is a win and indeed a morale booster for many of my young players. We defended well today and took our chances. I am proud of the players and hope will continue to improve.”
Egypt play Korea on Friday after a day’s rest.
“It is going to be an even tougher match, but glad that we will have a day’s rest after having arrived in Ipoh in the afternoon on eve of the tournament and played two tough back-to-back matches.”
In the match, Egypt took the surprise lead against perennial rivals South Africa, in their very first penalty corner in the 7th minute when Adel Mohamed scored and with seconds before end of the first quarter, in their second penalty corner, Atef Hamada Addelmoneim Ali Alshami made it 2-0 to put the pressure on South Africa.
South Africa almost reduced the deficit when Mathew de Sousa rounded Egypt’s goalkeeper Sayed Mohamed Gamal Mohamed to send the ball into empty goal but Atef Hamada managed to stop the ball from crossing the goal line in the nick of time in the 22nd minute.
Egypt boosted by the save went to score on the other end immediately to further inflict pain on South Africa, with their third goal off a field goal by Ali Mohamed in the 22nd for halftime score.
Atef was awarded the Man of the Match award.
South Africa were unlucky not to have reduced the deficit with at least goal as in their fourth penalty corner in the 54th minute, Peter John Jarvis’ hit bounce off the upright.
The result has indeed kept the tournament with surprises and could well turn into and interesting finish as to who makes the final as the top two teams.