The South African Indoor Hockey Men were desperate to bounce back from their defeat to USA when they faced off against world number 3 Iran on Wednesday evening. The South Africans knew facing the Asian Indoor Hockey giants would be anything but easy.
Continuing a remarkable run of scoring in every one of his 26 test matches, Mustapha Cassiem again stood up to be counted and fired in a low curving shot to give the hosts an early lead. It was a lead they would not hold for long as the Iranians pulled it back almost immediately through Mirzakhani.
A penalty corner for the Iranian’s struck SA captain Jethro Eustice on the line and Bahrami was called on to stick home the penalty stroke. A moment of magic though from Mustapha Cassiem pulled the game level before Iran regained the lead less than 1 second before the end of the third quarter.
The more than 1000 strong crowd were keen to see their team home and the BlitzStoks werer only to happy to use their support to fire. The boys pulled level with 4 minutes remaining. A good ball by Keegan Hezlett found Dayaan Cassiem unmarked and having fired a few warning shots the older brother gave the South Africans parity again.
A minute later it got better. Mustapha Cassiem was fed through the middle, took the ball around the goalkeeper and fired home from an acute angle to raise the roof off the Heartfelt Arena.
Unfortunately for the South Africans they would concede a late penalty stroke. The controversial decision was hugely unpopular as the big screen replays failed to support the decision, but casting the disappointed crowd aside Bahrami fired home to secure a draw for the Iranians.
The South Africans destiny in the tournament continues to be in their hands with a finish of 2nd as possible as a finish of 6th in the highly competitive Pool B.
image: Ryan Julius for South Africa, credit Marcel Sigg