Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gold for Malaysia!

Faizal Saari celebrates his goal against Pakistan in the second minute of the match.

MALAYSIAN juniors created history when they beat Pakistan 2-1 for the Junior Asia Cup gold medal at the MBM Stadium in Malacca yesterday.
  It was the first gold medal in the tournament, which was incepted in 1987, and the Malacca crowd went wild after the final whistle by running onto the picth and even the strong presence of the Police was unable to control the thousands who invaded the pith at will.
  "This is a very proud moment for Malaysian hockey as we finally won gold after 25 years in this tournament. Full credit goes to my players and coaching as well as management staff, as this journey was started way back in 2009 and ended at the top of the podium today," said Malaysian coach K. Dharmaraj.
  The MBM Stadium was already packed at 5pm, and by the time Malaysia entered the pitch three hours later, there was a full-blown carnival atmosphere.
  About 7,000 fans circled the stadium, which only had seating capacity around the grandstand, while the rest stood on the hillocks around the stadium standing 50-deep but not the least frustrated.
  And Faizal Saari did not disappoint the fans, as off the first minute attack, Malaysia won a penalty corner, and he duly converted with a sizzler which almost tore the netting.
  That set the tempo for the match, and Pakistan were all but beaten by the 18th minute, when Syamim Yusof taps in a cross which again sent the crowd into wild celebrations.
  The only danger of the half from Pakistan was in the 34th minute, when they won their only penalty corner, but Mohamed Tousiq blows it over the top.
  However, the second half saw a jaded Malaysian side as they kept making mistakes after mistakes, while Pakistan started to get more adventures in their attack.
  And in the 42nd minute, a poor clearance saw Irfan Mohamed scoring from close range to reduce the deficit for Pakistan.
  After that, Malaysia defended by numbers while Pakistan took control of the match for long periods.
  Malaysia had waited for this moment for 20 years, but the last 20 minutes of the match were agonising, as Pakistan went looking for the equaliser, and Malaysia were beaten at every turn except the goalkeeping department.
  And with three minutes remaining, Syamim was kicked in his groin, and fell down like a sack of brick. The incident almost sparked a free-for-all, and Pakistan's Mohamed Khalid and Syamim were sent to the sin-bin for five minutes, and the match was over for both of them.
  Malaysia then lost Izzat Sumantri to a yellow, but even with nine-man, they still held on to history.
  Meanwhile, India claimed the bronze in extra-time sudden death when their skipper Akashdeep Singh score in the 79th minute, after the match ended 1-1 in regulation time.
  RESULTS: Final: Malaysia 2 Pakistan 1; Third-Fourth: India 1 South Korea 1 (India win on sudden-death goal).

India claim Jnr Asia Cup bronze

An Akashdeep Singh golden goal in the 79th minute saw India beat South Korea to the bronze in the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca.
   Malaysia v Pakistan Final at 8pm Malaysian time...