Sunday, December 4, 2011

No medal, just another Challenge I spot

MALAYSIA ended their campaign spot on the fifth target set for them by the Malaysian Hockey Federation, when they beat Poland 3-0 in the Champions Challenge I in Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday.
And it came with a guarantee to play in the next Champions Challenge I, and a move up from their 14th spot when the next world rankings are updated.
It was a bit of consolation, as Malaysia showed that they can play possession hockey, but Poland were never in the match and looked like they were just waiting for the final hooter to end their misery.
Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin started the winning touch with a field goal in the 18th minute, and Faizal Saari made it 2-0 in the 29th minute to take his tournament tally to three goals.
Tengku then doused the Poles fight-back with a deft touch off an Azlan Misron pass in the 47th minute, and took his tally to five goals in Africa.
In the group stages, Malaysia lost 3-1 to Canada, drew 2-2 with Japan and lost 5-2 to Argentina.
However, it was a heartbreak for them in the quarter- finals, where they took a 4-2 lead, but crumbled to lose 5-4 to India off a golden goal.
In the seventh-eighth placing match, Japan overwhelmed Canada 7-2, to show that they are serious contenders for the Olympic Qualifiers which they will host in Kakamigahara in April.
RESULTS: Final -- India x Belgium x (10.30pm start); Third-Fourth: South Africa x Argentina x (8pm start); Fifth Sixth: Malaysia 3 Poland 0; Seventh-Eighth: Japan 7 Canada 2.