South Africa secured a quarter final place in the FIH indoor Hockey World Cup with a dramatic final minute goal to defeat Argentina 6-5 at Heartfelt Arena.
South Africa couldn’t have asked for a better start as Mustapha Cassiem fed the ball to his brother in acres of space. As the Argentine keeper came forward to close Dayaan fired the ball into the roof of the goal. Just 18 seconds had passed at this point.
The crowd included a number of school kids from the area were jubilant as Mustapha Cassiem showed his own individual brilliance to put Mayo on his bottom and finish into an empty net. The Heartfelt Arena was rocking.
However, the Argentines are a team with superb flair and belief, and they continued to fight the South Africans finding a goal back through influential captain Juan Elecegui as the opening quarter ended 2-1.
Argentina struck first in the second quarter through Navarro capitalizing in a period when the South Africans were slowing things down. The goal silenced the crowd somewhat before Chad Futcher reacted to a loose ball after a challenge on Mustapha Cassiem and fired the hosts back into the lead.
Argentina levelled once again though with Ceballos scored from a penalty stroke after a penalty corner had struck Eustice on the line. The half-time came with the score 3-3.
Early in the second half Dayaan Cassiem showed his own magical moment to score a reverse flick from an acute angle to re-establish the lead. It was a lead that was double by Chad Futcher with a penalty corner smashed home by Chad Futcher.
10 minutes remained for South Africa to confirm their spot in the Quarter-Finals for Friday. Argentina pulled one back through a Rodriguez effort from a penalty corner. It was a little disappointing for the South Africans as the shot lacked venom and caught the defense by surprise. It got more frustrating for the South Africans as another stroke was awarded when Cassiem was adjudged to hit the ball on the goal line and Ceballos levelled matters again.
The South Africans showed the fight, showed the determination and were able to steal the match and seal a victory, a place in the quarter finals and the quest for glory continues.
South Africa’s opponent in the Quarter Finals will be confirmed later on Thursday and will take place on Friday evening at Heartfelt Arena.
Image: Mustapha Cassiem, credit Marcel Sigg