A Dayaan Cassiem masterclass helped South Africa to victory over Ireland in the thrilling final of the inaugural FIH Hockey Mens Nations Cup, securing qualification into the FIH Pro League 2023/24 season for the hosts.
The packed crowd in Potchefstroom was treated to an end-to-end display of attacking hockey in a closely fought match that ended in a 4-3 win in favour of South Africa.
The attacking stars from both teams showed up in the big final with Dayaan Cassiem and Shane O’Donoghue scoring twice, while Tevin Kok, Mustaphaa Cassiem and John McKee also got on the scorecard.
Dayaan Cassiem was especially brilliant, scoring two fantastic goals for the hosts in the first half before winning the penalty stroke, scored by younger brother Mustaphaa, that gave South Africa victory in the final quarter.
Ireland piled the pressure on the South African goal in search of a late equaliser, but the experienced heads of Jethro Eustice, Keenan Horne and goalkeeper Hendrik Kriek kept the Irish at bay and sealed a historic win for South Africa in front of a raucous home crowd, the FIH informed in a release on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, Korea got the better of Malaysia in the all-Asian affair in the bronze medal match. Korea were dominant from start to finish, not allowing Malaysia any opportunity to get in the game, scoring twice in the first half and twice again in the second.
Jonghyun Jang continued his purple streak from the penalty corners, scoring his 7th goal of the campaign to finish as the top scorer of the tournament.
France finished their campaign in the 5th place, edging Japan in the shoot-out after a closely contested match where France scored two first-quarter goals, but Japan came back to level the scores and had great chances in the dying moments of the final quarter to claim a win.
French captain Victor Charlet scored two penalty strokes in the shoot-out and French keeper Arthur Thieffry saved two Japanese shoot-out attempts to seal the win for the European team.
In the 7th place playoff, Canada and Pakistan played a 9-goal thriller, that swung multiple times and was finally settled through a 58th-minute goal by Usama Bashir to earn Pakistan their first win in the tournament.