Monday, December 9, 2013

Malaysia 4 England 2

MALAYSIA started cold and stuttering, but after they warmed up to the freezing evening, England were demolished 4-2 in Group D of the Junior World Cup at the Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi.
    There was little pressure on coach K. Dharmaraj's men as they had already qualified for the quarter-finals before the match, but still, they whipped up a convincing win to enter the knock-out stage unbeaten after three matches.
   Malaysia's quarter-finals opponents will be either India or South Korea, who play their last Group C match today. India need a clear win, while South Korea only a draw to meet Malaysia.
   "They took some time to settle down, again, and we can't afford this in the knock-out stage," said Dharmaraj.
    "We have a two-day break before the quarter-finals, and who we meet does not matter as we have been preparing for years for this day to arrive," said Dharmaraj.
   Defender Kavin Kartik, playing in his second Junior World Cup, wants to achieve something in New Delhi.
   "I am a much more confident player, as compared to my first Junior World Cup (2009 in Johor Baru) and I have a mission in New Delhi. There are only three more matches to touch the gold medal, and I and my team-mates will try our best to keep a clean slate in the knock-out as well," said Kartik.
   It was a comical Malaysia which attacked England like men on a mission, but for 10 minutes, all they had to show were misses, as the ball whizzed from left to right of the England goalmouth with no connection coming forth.
   And penalty corners were also won with ease, but there were either no lift-off, or the push was easily intercepted.
   It was comical, just because Malaysia had already qualified for the quarter-finals before the match. Otherwise, the number of sitters Malaysia missed would have been heartbreaking.
   After five shots at goal, the penalty corner won in the 15th minute finally sounded the board. It was Zulhairi Hashim's attempt and after scoring his first goal of the tournament, he knelt down on the artificial pitch and offered a prayer in gratitude.
   Firhan Ashaari, who is a regular with the senior side, released some pressure off his team-mates shoulders when he scored a field goal in the 27th minute. It was his second goal of the tournament.
   England pulled one back before the breather when Luke Taylor scored off their firstpenalty corner inthe 31st minute.
      Malaysia were better organised, and looked hotter playing in the coldest evening since the tournament started, and did not take long to score their third goal. This time it was a field goal scored by Rashid Baharom, from Penang, in the 44th minute. It was also his second goal of the World Cup.
    And skipper Fitri Saari made sure Malaysia win their third straight match when he scored a cracker in the 57th minute.
     England scored their second goal in the 65th minute off Phil Roper, but it was tooo late a comeback ro deny Malaysia  their glory.