Six-goal thriller opens men’s FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup
Having watched the South African Women go down to a narrow defeat in their opener, the South African Indoor Hockey Men, powered by Tops at Spar, were determined to give themselves a winning start as they took on 2018 fourth-place finishers Australia.
They couldn’t have asked for a better start. Lungani Gabela’s shot was rebounded to Chad Futcher who shaped to shoot but was taken out and a penalty stroke was awarded. Mustapha Cassiem stepped up to fire home his 53rd international indoor goal.
Elation and jubilation doubled up for the South Africans when Cassiem made it 2-0 reacting to a goal bound effort that sneaked off to him. His goal delighted the home crowd.
The Australians though have a tenacious fighting spirit and found their way back into the game. Ben Staines pulling a goal back for the Australians just before the halftime break. In the third quarter, Jake Sherren levelled matters with a well-struck penalty corner into the top corner.
For the South Africans, the frustrations grew as Australia completed a superb turnaround with Jack Staines scoring on a counterattack right on the hooter to give the Australians the lead. The South Africans had a few half chances but were looking to raise the tempo and precision in the final quarter of the game.
They did exactly that as they asked questions on a continuous basis, and they eventually found the answer through their inspirational captain Jethro Eustice, who fired home from a penalty corner for his fourth historical Indoor Hockey World Cup goal.
The South Africans continued to look for a winner but were unable and ultimately the two teams settled for a draw.