Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Malaysia 5 USA 2

RUS Nikolay KOMAROV assists EGY Hamada ATEF. Egypt won 3-0.

MALAYSIA had a dream start when they scored four goals in 11minutes, but then strggled to beat United States 5-2 in Group C of the Junior World Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.

It what should have been a whipping exercise, turned into a heart-stopper in the second half as they allowed US into the match.
However, the three points are valuable enough, and now they must beat Spain on Friday to qualify for the second round.
"We had US early in the match, but stopped playing hockey in the second half. However, the three points is what mattered most, as we live to play Spain for a shot at the second round," said Malaysian coach K. Rajan.

The 6,000-odd crowd started cheering a good 20 minutes before the match started, and the national juniors gave them more reasons to try and break the sound barrier when they nipped in a reverse stick goal in the second minute itself.

The crown went will with celebrations when a top-of-the circle reverse stick shot by Izzat Rahim went crashing into the net.

And it was just the tonic that Izzat's team-mates needed top push harder, and in the eighth minute, Marhan Jalil made it 2-0 after skipper Khairul Anuar did all the hard work from the Malaysian back-line.

The floodgates opened wide, and Malaysia were rewarded with a penalty stroke in the ninth minute, and Faizal Shaari cooly tucked in the third goal.
The United States were never in the picture and two minutes later, Shafiq Zain deflected home a hit from Faizal, and Malaysia were comfortably in the driving seat.

Losing to the United States was now out of the question, and only how many goals the boys in yellow could score was on everybody's mind. But after taking a good early cushion, complacency set in and passes went wild, or of target and US took the opportunity to score a soft goal in the 30th minute.
Nicholas Zoke broke the US' duck with a slow push which fooled goalkeeper Hakim Adnan, and the first half ended 4-1.
In the second half, after scoring the first goal of the tournament, US won their first penalty corner of the tournament as well in the 42nd minute, but the flick went over the bar. Malaysia went into sleep mode, and mistakes crept into their match, but luck was still on their side, as the US were happy to defend and rarely attacked.
The packed gallery were shocked to see Malaysia conceede their third penalty corner to US in the 56th minute, and Jed Cunningham scored to make it 4-2.

Malaysia finally won their first penalty corner of the match in the 63rd minute, and Faizal flicked in high for his second, and Malaysia's fifth goal.


Woon Geun Lim (KOR) is following Faizal Saari (MAS) closely. Malaysia lost 2-0 on Monday.

RESULTS: Group A: Russia 0 Egypt 3; Group B: Chile 1 South Africa 6; Group C: Malaysia 5 USA 2; Group D: Singapore 1 Poland 2.


Group A
P W D L F A Pts
Argentina 2 2 0 0 12 3 6
Pakistan 2 2 0 0 10 2 6
Belgium 2 1 0 1 5 4 3
Egypt 3 1 0 2 4 8 3
Russia 3 0 0 3 5 19 0

Group B
P W D L F A Pts
Australia 2 2 0 0 10 1 6
Germany 2 2 0 0 9 0 6
South Africa 3 1 1 1 7 6 4
Japan 2 0 2 0 2 7 1
Chile 3 0 0 3 1 15 0

Group C
P W D L F A Pts
Spain 2 2 0 0 11 1 6
South Korea 2 2 0 0 9 0 6
Malaysia 3 2 0 1 6 4 6
England 2 0 0 2 1 3 0
US 3 0 0 3 2 21 0

Group D
P W D L F A Pts
Netherlands 2 2 0 0 15 2 6
India 2 1 1 0 12 2 4
New Zealand 2 1 1 0 10 3 4
Poland 3 1 0 2 5 16 3
Singapore 3 0 0 3 1 20 0

USA ready to kick-butt

UNITED STATES coach Nicholas Conway made it clear that his boys will beat Malaysia, as they have been 'kicked up the butt' too many times in the Junior World Cup.
US were hammered 7-0 by South Korea and 9-0 by Spain in Group C, and they are looking forward to the match with the hosts today.
"We have many talented players in this team, but they lack tournament exposure, and it showed in the first two matches.
"But we are tired of being kicked up the butt 16 times in two matchs, and will score against Malaysia," said Conway.
The US have seven players who are also in the senior team, and they held on gallently for at least 15 minutes against South Korea and Spain, before being hammered.
"Even though we have lost two matches, the tournament is far from over, as we still can collect six points. And I hope the Malaysian crowd comes out in numbers, as my players would like to play to a full gallery for the first time. It would be an experience to cherish," said Conway.
The Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru, which can acommodate 3,500, was packed to the brim with more than 5,000 fans when Malaysia played England and South Korea.
Malaysian coach K. Rajan took up the challenge: "If we can't beat US, then someting is definately wrong with my team."
Both the coaches have thrown 'punches' at each other, and today, it would be the turn of Malaysian players to keep the flag flying in the world cup.
Malaysia must beat US at any cost, as they play European junior champions Spain next, and the match would be uphill from the first whistle.
"We need to score early, and I have a game-plan which should deliver three points. However, my only fear is that if the boys take US lightly, it could turn into a disaster," said Rajan.
Malaysian No 1 Junior goalkeeper Abdul Hakim Adnan said South Korea was a mistake, not a defeat, and them will make ammends against US.
"We could have beaten the South Koreans if we had followed our coaches' instruction on how to defend penalty corners against them. Somehow, the defenders decided to use another variation, and Korea scored two goals.
"However, I am confident my team-mates will not disappoint their fans in the match against US. We will win at any cost, and live on to battle against Spain for the top-two spot in our group," said Abdul Hakim.

Spain closer to second round

SPAIN took another step towards the second round when they beat England 2-1 in Group C at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru.
The European champions now have six points from two wins, and play South Korea before wrapping their fixtures against Malaysia.
The Spanish goals were scored by Salvador Piera (13th) and Xavier Lleonart (35th) while England replied through Alex Edmunston in the 67th minute.
Meanwhile, in Group A defending champions Argentina were slow to start, but after scoring heir first goal, they found they groove and beat Belgium 3-0.
Argentina have six points from two matches, and need only one more win against Pakistan or Egypt to qualify or the second round.
Yesterday, Augistin Mazzilli (40th) and a brace from Alan Gabriel (53rd, 69th) handed Argentina full points.
In Group D, India and New Zealand played to a 2-2 draw. India got their goals off Pramod Kumar (36th) and Diwakar Ram (13th), while the Kiwi scorers were Simon Child (10th) and Marcus Child (32nd).
Pablo Lombi, who was also the coach when Argentina won the junior World Cup in 2005 in Rotterdam, said his team is on the right track to play in the second round.
"However, we are taking one match at a time, and I believe Pakistan (their next opponents) is a very strong team and we will be under pressure in that game," said Lombi.
According to Lombi, Argentina have been training for the last two years for this tournament, but their last tournament match was in December.
"After that, we only trained, and we last played Pakistan in 2005, so we do not know what to expect," said Lombi.
Meanwhile, South Korean goalkeeper Kang Hyun Woo has been quarantined at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baru as a suspect for H1N1 fever. He did not play against Malaysia on Monday.
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary Hashim Yusof said: "He came down with high fever and was quarantined as a precautionary measure. We have taken measures to ensure that other players are not afected."