The Sultan of Johor Cup has come to its conclusion for the South African Hockey U21 Men as they defeated Malaysia, the hosts, 3-2 in the 5th place playoff this morning in Johor.
Having defeated Malaysia in the group stages the South Africans fancied their chances and came out the better team winning a couple of penalty corners. They took the lead through Niel Raath flicking a fast low flick past the Malaysian keeper to give the Africans the lead.
It was unfortunately not a lead that would be held for long as Malaysia equalized through their own penalty corner with a low drive into the goal from their captain. That would be it for the first quarter ending 1-1.
South Africa would continue getting regular penalty corners but not converting but they re-established the lead with a Hans Neethling goal just before half time. Sihle Ngubane produced a sensational length of the pitch run that was lifted over the keeper. Neethling made sure of the goal with a touch and the South Africans led 2-1 at the half-time break.
Raath added his second from a penalty stroke in the second half as South Africa stretched their lead. They continued to look the more likely to score as the game progressed towards its completion.
The Malaysians fought back and pulled a goal back from a penalty corner that was awarded three times. The finish brought hope for the Malaysians that they were going to pull back level but despite a massive effort they were withheld and the South Africans held on to a 3-2 win and a 5th place finish at their first ever Sultan of Johor Cup.