MALAYSIA won their first bronze medal in the Champions Challenge 1 when they beat Ireland 3-2 in Kuantan yesterday.
For the record, the hosts only had two fourth placings to show before
this which was achieved in 2001 in Kuala Lumpur and 2013 in Argentina.
And it was also Malaysia's first ever medal in an International Hockey
Federation (FIH) open tournament, as the other silver and bronze medals
were won at the Azlan Shah Cup invitational and the Asian Games.
Malaysia has only won gold at the Sea Games level.
prous of the players as they achieved a milestone in Malaysian hockey
today (yesterday) but there is much work to be done in our defense as we
prepare for the World Cup which is just around the corner.
had our chance to play in the final but blew it against Canada, and now
we will worl to finish at leat ninth (among 12 teams) in the World Cup,"
said Malaysian coach k. Dharmaraj.
The coach is also looking at
minimal changes to the suqad as there is no time left leading to the
World Cup: "Maximum there might be two or three chances to the squad as I
do not have time on my side. But after the World Cup, there might be
more chances as we prepare for the Asian Games gold medal (Olympic
ticket)," said Dharmaraj.
It was another good start for Malaysia
as Ahmad Kazamirul's attempt in the fifth minute hit a defenders' foot
and Malaysia were awarded a penalty stroke. And Kazamirul stepped up to
the spot and beat goalkeeper David Harte for the early lead.
in the 11th minute, Rashid Baharom's reverse stick shot made it 2-0,
but then, the team had led Canada 2-0 and New Zealand 4-1 before
collapsing and taking the match into penalty shoot outs. They beat the
Kiwis 3-2 but lost the final slot to Canada.
Both Rashid and
Kazamirul scored their first goals in the last match of the tournament,
and there are still three more quarters to play.
And it happened
as Paul Gleghorne scores off a penalty corner deflection to cut
Malaysia''s lead in the 22nd minute, and the bronze medal was in danger
of slipping through coach K. Dharmaraj's men's fingers.
started playing recklessly as first Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin was green
carded and Gleghorne narrowed the gap, and in the 24th minute, skipper
Azlan Misron was yellow carded and will sit out for at least five
But still by the 35th minute, Malaysia had the bronze in
their hands while Ireland were pushing hard looking for the equaliser.
However, in the 43rd minute the same script was played by Malaysia as
they let Ireland claw back into the match, and this time it was a
sizzling shot at goal by Chris Cargo which gave Ireland the equaliser.
Malaysia were in a fighting mood yesterday and kept pushing and were
finally rewarded when in the 66th minute, skipper Azlan Misron turned
striker and gave his men the lead again.
Faizal Saari and Firhan
then sprinted to the Irish goal-mouth in the 70th minute and after a 1-2
exchange, Firhan easily scored the fourth goal to confirm the bronze
medal for his mates.
RESULTS -- Final: Canada x South Korea x;
Third-Fourth: Malaysia 4 Ireland 2; Fifth-Sixth: New Zealand 6 France 3;
Seventh-Eighth: Japan 3 Poland 2.