Sunday, November 15, 2009

13 minutes turn into lifetime agony

MALAYSIA failed to qualify for the New Delhi World Cup when they were edged 2-1 by New Zealand in Invercargill yesterday.
However, the match was a heart-stopper, as Malaysia took the match to the higher ranked Kiwis and even scored an early goal, only to lose on penalty corers.
Malaysia shocked New Zealand, who started sluggishly, by scoring an 18th minute penalty corner goal. Amin Rahim made a dummy and passed it to Razie Rahim, who flicked in the lead.
And then three were a string of chances, including three more consecutive penalty corners, but Malaysia failed to increase the lead and paid the price.
New Zealand came back into the match in the second half, and the energetic Malaysian side started to fade away as the clocked ticked by, and it was only a matter of time before the World Cup ticket was snatched from their grasp, 13 minutes before the flight took off.
Andrew Hayward scored a soft penalty corner attempt in the 57th minute, which caught Malaysian goalkeeper S. Kumar by surprise, as it went in between his pads.
And with the equaliser, came a series of blunders from the Malaysian side and the Kiwis earned another penalty corner in the 60th minute, which Hayward tucked in to take his team into the World Cup.
“We had a super start, and then three consecutive penalty corners came our way but the boys failed to connect. That was the turning point which led to our defeat,” said assistant team manager M. Gobinathan.
Gobinathan, however, feels the team gave their best but it was not enough: “I feel for players like Kumar and Madzli Ikmar who are in their 30s and probably will not get another chance to play in the World Cup.
“They gave their best, and personally speaking, coaches Tai Beng Hai and Nor Saiful Zaini worked very hard to transform a few hopeless players to do well here.
“I would recommend, in my report, that both the coaches be retained in the national outfit,” said Gobinathan.
Beng Hai coached the team on an interim basis, and the Malaysian Hockey Federation had said that his future de pends on the team’s performance in Invercargill.
Meanwhile, New Zealand coach Shane McLeod said on NZ TV: “Malaysia played very well. They gained a lot from the earlier game. They did their homework and cancelled out a lot of things we were succeeding with.
“They’re really difficult if you fall behind by a goal, they defend with a lot of passion.”
McLeod thought the ease of New Zealand’s cruise to the final also hindered their performance.
“They weren’t tested a lot over the week and sometimes it gets a little bit hard to keep trying to lift yourself above other teams.
“With Malaysia getting a goal against the run of play we were in a situation we hadn't faced.”
And were the team inspired by their soccer players who had qualified for the World Cup the night before?
“My players watched, and were inspired by, the All Whites’ 1-0 win over Bahrain. All sports get motivated by the success of others, I think it assisted us with out campaign.”
RESULTS: Final -- Malaysia 1 New Zealand 2; Third- Fourth: China 2 Scotland 2 (Scotland win 5-3 on penalty strokes); Fifth-Sixth: Austria 3 Wales 2.

We blew it...

THE Black Sticks Men capped off a fantastic weekend for New Zealand sport becoming the second team in two days to qualify for a World Cup.

New Zealand came from behind to beat Malaysia 2 – 1 today in freezing Invercargill conditions, in the final of the BDO World Cup Qualifier.

The Black Sticks were down 1 – 0 with 13 minutes to play and looked well and truly shaken by the gutsy Malaysians, who had scored from a penalty corner in the 18th minute. The Malaysians defended very well, particularly at the top of the circle, dispossessing the New Zealand strike force which had run rampant up until the final scoring 28 goals in five games.

Break through player Andy Hayward, scored both of the New Zealand goals, from penalty corner drag flicks in the 57th and 60th minute.

Black Sticks Men’s Coach Shane McLeod said after the match his feeling was mainly one of relief: “A final is tough when there is such a prize at stake,” he said. “I don’t think we played overly well. We haven’t been challenged through the tournament and Malaysia could taste they had an opportunity.”

McLeod played tribute to Hayward’s efforts: “We have put a lot of work into Andy and I am so pleased for him. When you flick well often your hockey goes the same way.”
The World Cup will be held in New Delhi, India, next Febuary.

New Zealand 2 (Andy Hayward 2) Malaysia 1 (Razie Abd Rahim) H:T 1 – 0 Malaysia
Scotland 5 (Stephen Dick, Kenneth Bain) China 3 (Yixian Liu, Fengui Lu) (penalty strokes extra time, after score tied 2 – 2 full time. )
Austria 3 (Georg Jelinek 2, Michael Korper) Wales 2 (Benjamin Croxall, Matthew Ruxton) H:T 2 – 0 Wales

Final placings
1st New Zealand
2nd Malaysia
3rd Scotland
4th China
5th : Austria
6th : Wales

Player of the Tournament – Ryan Archibald (New Zealand)
Goal Keeper of the Tournament – S Kumar (Malaysia)
Top Goal Scorer – Andy Hayward (New Zealand)
Fairplay – Scotland