Sunday, March 12, 2017

World League Rd 2 Dhaka: GOLD for Malaysia!

THE NATIONAL hockey players came back from two goals down to hold China 2-2 and then win the World League Round Two gold medal on penalty shoot-out in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday.
  In the shoot-out, Malaysia won 5-3.
  Malaysia and China, by reaching the final in Dhaka, had already qualified for the World League Semifinals and will play either in Johannesburg on July 9-23, or in London on Jun 15-25.
  Playing on an almost dry pitch, due to strong winds, China took the lead at the first quarter break off a penalty corner attempt.
  Lanky defender Du Talake's thundering flick in the 15th minute beat custodian Hafizuddin Othman for the lead.
  And Malaysia were in trouble by the 22nd minute, when Jun Su tucked in from close range to increase the lead.
  Malaysia's misery was compounded in the 25th minute, when Najmi Jazlan missed a penalty stroke chance by flicking straight to goalkeeper Ming Cheng.
  Ming Cheng was the hero of the moment, as he saved five point blank attempts by Malaysia, while one was saved by the post.
  Malaysia bungled eight penalty corners and a penalty stroke by half-time.
  Finally, the 11th penalty corner was tucked in by Shahril Saabah in the 46th minute.
  And the 12th penalty corner in the 55th minute was also made good, as Najmi Jazlan scored the equaliser and took the match to shoot-out.
   RESULTS: Final -- Malaysia 2 China 2 (Malaysian win shoot-out 5-3; Third-Fourth: Oman 1 Egypt 5; Fifth-Sixth: Bangladesh 3 Ghaha 3 (Bangladesh win sudden-death shoot-out 4-3; Seventh-Eighth: Fiji 3 Sri Lanka 5.

Now for the gold medal...

MALAYSIA qualified for the World League Semifinals, when they beat Egypt 5-0 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday.
  The finalists here will play either in London or South Africa to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in India.
  Egypt opted to defend in numbers, and rely on counter-attacks and it back-fired on them.
  Malaysia will now play China for the World League Round Two gold medal today. China beat Oman 5-1 in the other semi-finals.
  Razie Rahim calmed the Malaysian nerves when he fired a low penalty corner towards goalkeeper Wael Noureldin's left in the 15th minute for the lead.
  This was what Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Technical Director Terry Walsh had recommended a day before as he noticed Wael was weak in that area.
  After that the goals came easy off Fitri Shaari (26th), Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (30th), Shahril Saabah (44th) and Aiman Nik Rosemi (49th).  
  After accomplishing their first goal, Malaysian players took a portrait shot -- and are looking forward to claiming the gold medal as well.
  "One target down, now for the gold medal," said a relieved Malaysian coach Stephen van Huizen.
  On paper and going by this tournament's form China are no match for Malaysia.
  "Credit to the players as they displayed an all-round polished performance. This was our best match in this tournament so far, and I believe that we can beat China in the final to defend our World League gold medal," said van Huizen.
  In the 2015 World League Round Two in Singapore, Malaysia whipped Poland 8-0 in the final.
  Looking forward, the coach has many more options for the World League Semifinals as four regulars were left behind due to injuries and family commitments.
  "Yes we left four players (S. Kumar, Firhan Ashaari, Baljit Singh, Faizal Shaari) back home and I believe we will have a much stronger team for the World League Semifinals where we hope to qualify for the India World Cup," said van Huizen.
  Johannesburg will host the World League Semifinals on Jul 9-23, while in London it will be on Jun 15-25.
  RESULTS: Semi-finals: Malaysia 5 Egypt 0, China 5 Oman 1.
  Fifth-Eighth -- Sri Lanka 0 Bangladesh 9, Ghana 11 Fiji 2.
  SUNDAY: Final -- Malaysia v China (6pm); Third-Fourth: Oman v Egypt (3.45pm); Fifth-Sixth: Bangladesh v Ghana (1.30pm); Seventh-Eighth: Fiji v Sri Lanka (11.15am).
  Note: Malaysian time.

Malaysia v Sri Lanka in pictures...