Malaysian players celebrate after scoring against Austria. The match ended 2-2.
MALAYSIA edged Wales 2-1 in the World Cup Qualifier yesterday to keep the fire burning in cold Invercargill, New Zealand.
After a disappointing 2-2 draw with Austria on Saturday, the three points against world No 29 Wales was a huge relief as the Malaysian team still have a shot at playing in the final.
However, New Zealand lead the standings with another blistering performance in their 8-0 destruction of Scotland to top the standings on six points.
China are also on six points, but they have not been impressive so far, and only beat Austria 2-1 yesterday.
Malaysia started aggressively when Tengku Ahmad Tajud din scored a field goal in the fourth minute, and then Tengku got his brace in the 32nd minute.
However, another poor second half saw Malaysia living dangerously and Richard Gay scored a 54th minute penalty corner to narrow the gap, but in the end, coach Tai Beng Hai’s men held on and walked away as winners.
“We put the disappointing Austrian match behind us and played much better against Wales but missed many sitters.
“However, the three points are valuable as we still have a fighting chance to play in the final,” said Malaysian skipper Madzli Ikmar.
Madzli believes their biggest challenge will be against New Zealand who have been merciless in their two matches.
“It is good that we played New Zealand in friendlies a month ago, and now my team-mates have a better un derstanding of their structure. We need to stop a few key players in New Zealand from having too much ball possession on Tuesday, and half the battle would be won,” said Madzli.
The skipper still believes his charges will make it to the final: “It not over yet, China and even New Zealand might drop points and if we keep winning, the tournament will open up to us,” said Madzli.
New Zealand have scord 14 goals in two matches, and yesterday’s eight were delivered by Hugo Inglis (16th), Simon Child (26th, 46th), Phillip Burrows (33rd), Nicholas Wilson (48th, 49th, 58th, 60th).
China took a 2-0 lead off Liu Yixian (35th) and Sun Long (61st), while Georg Jelinek scored for Austria in the 64th minute.
RESULTS: Malaysia 2 Wales 1, New Zealand 8 Scotland 0, China 2 Austria 1.
TODAY; Rest day.
TOMORROW (Malaysian Time): Austria v Scotland (9am), Wales v China (11am), New Zealand v Malaysia (1pm).
P W D L F A Pts
New Zealand 2 2 0 0 14 2 6
China 2 2 0 0 4 2 6
Malaysia 2 1 1 0 4 1 4
Austria 2 0 1 1 3 4 1
Scotland 2 0 0 2 1 10 0
Wales 2 0 0 2 3 8 0