Ireland succumb to Egypt in second FIH Series group game

Men’s FIH Series Finals
Ireland 1 (J Jackson) Egypt 2 (M Adel, A Abd Hakim)

Ireland’s chances of topping their men’s FIH Series Finals group took a big blow as they succumbed to world number 20 side Egypt in Le Touquet.

Alexander Cox’s side struggled to create enough clear-cut chances against a powerful, direct Egyptian side who were decent value for the win.

The Green Machine made a decent start and went in front from their second penalty corner when Shane O’Donoghue fired in a reverse-stick shot that John Jackson tipped in.

John Jackson in action. Pic: France Federation de Hockey

But Egypt are a wily outfit and their hard-running down the middle soon started to bear fruit. They were back on terms seven minutes before half-time via Mohamed Adel’s drag-flick and, but for some sharp David Harte work, could have been ahead sooner.

Michael Robson just missed out from an O’Donoghue cross from the pick of Ireland’s attacks but, too often, crash balls were picked off at the edge of the circle by the African side who remained compact.

Egypt, meanwhile, went in front early in the fourth quarter, cutting in from the left to set up Ahmed Abd Elhakim who flipped a neat finish over Harte.

A series of late Irish corners were kept at bay in the closing stages as they threw everything forward but no equaliser was to materialise.

After the game, Ireland head coach Alexander Cox said: “We didn’t show up in the first half and that can’t happen.

“We improved in the second half and tried everything to break them. We had enough chances to score more than one, but we didn’t. Credit to Egypt. We’re massively disappointed but we are still in the tournament.”

In tandem with their 4-2 win over Scotland on Saturday, it leaves Ireland in third place in the group after two games. They should advance to the next phase with Singapore – 36th in the world compared to Ireland’s 11 – on Tuesday’s agenda but it looks more likely to be to the quarter-finals rather than the direct route to the semis.

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, J Bell, E Magee, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, B Walker, D Walsh, C Harte, L Cole, S Cole
Subs: M Bell, L Madeley, M Nelson, N Glassey, M Robson, P Gleghorne, J Carr

Egypt: M Sayed, M Edris, M Mansour, A Ibrahim, A Ezz, A Sayed, A Said, A Abd Elhakim, M Ragab, A Elganaini, M Adel
Subs: K Atef, A Gamal, , A Mohsen, A Elhady, W Metwalli, M Ragab

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