Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jasjit the two-goal destroyer

Beng: Well be back...

JASJIT Singh scored his first and second international drag flick goals of his career, and it had to be against Malaysia in the quarter-finals of the World League Semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium.
  Both the Jasjit penalty corner drag flicks were actually floaters, meaning with medium power. And like feathers in the wind, both the balls looked like they floated zig-zag, and in slow motion, past the postmen and also goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin.
  Malaysia were, until that floating moment, leading 2-1 and about 12 minutes away from playing in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
  India are a diluted side here as both their penalty corner flickers VR Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh are on the crock list, but still made it to the semi-finals on sheer grit.
  Having already qualified for the Olympics by virtue of winning the Asian Games gold, India still had more fire in their belly than the Malaysian players.
  After the match, skipper Razie Rahim said they were caught off guard, as they did not know that Jasjit could also drag flick.
  Drag flick? Jasjit was just as shocked after attempts went in: “It was amazing. It was my first (and second) drag-flick goal in international hockey so it was amazing."
  The two attempts from Jasjit were so amazing, that Malaysian defenders could do nothing but watch with awe as the balls floated in.
  Manager Stephen Van Huizen explained that it was a bitter pill to swallow, but one we have to accept fast. 
  "It was a missed opportunity but we have to keep moving forward. Every team in the 5th to 8th play-off will be mentally and emotionally affected, and the team that recovers the fastest will have the added advantage", said Stephen.
  Beng Hai was more Terminator like: "We will be back back. We have played well in the tournament so far, but will need to translate our performance into results."

The many IFS that come in now...

MALAYSIA failed to take the easy path, and now the 'ifs' come into the picture as they play France in the 5th-8th placing match in the World League Semifinals in Antwerp, today (Friday).
  And France won't be easy, as they took hosts Belgium on a long ride before bowing out 4-5 in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
  But if Malaysia beat France and then beat either Pakistan or Ireland, the other 5th-8th playoff teams, they can book their Rio de Janeiro flight tickets before returning home to Malaysia.
  This is because four more ifs imerge for coach Tai Beng Hai and his men, provided then win the last two matches here.
  The first if is for India to finish top-three in Belgium, and it opens the doors for first reserve Canada who finished fourth in the WL Semifinals in Argentina.
  And the second if is for Australia to beat New Zealand and become the Oceania Cup champions, and this will open the door to the fifth team in Argentina which is Spain, because Spain is ranked 11th and higher than Malaysia.
  And then the third if is for Argentina or Canada to win the Pan American and this will take the fifth team in Belgium to the Olympics, assuming Malaysia end fifth in Antwerp.
  Even the sixth spot is valuable, as Germany, Netherlands, Britain, Belgium might just end up as European champions and open another slot but it will then go to New Zealand who are the highest ranked sixth placed team in Argentina.
  And the seventh is also capable of playing in the Olympics, because hosts Brazil must finish among the top six in the Pan Amrican, if not they will not be eligible -- aqnd this is an International Hockey Federation challenge to the hosts.
  And finally, the eight spot is also an Olympic contender, because South Africa Olympic Council are not happy their hockey team did not qualify for the World League Semifinals, and told them even if they finish as champions in the African Cup, they cant go.
  There, the many ifs that are available for Malaysia to reach the Olympics, provided they don't start by blowing up against France Friday.

Malaysia shoot themselves...

MALAYSIA blew their first Olympics ticket when they lost 3-2 to India, but still have another chance to make the trip to Rio de Janeiro next year.
  They must now play for the fifth spot as which is still worth its weight in gold.
  Double qualifications in continental championships is bound to happen, and now Malaysia must give their best for the fifth spot in the remaining two matches.
  India scored in the third minute off Satbir Singh and Jasjit Singh scored two more off penalty corners in the 48th and 56th to hand India the semi-finals ticket.
  However, with India having already qualified for the Olympics by becoming the Asian Games champions, there is bound to be a double qualification and thats why the fifth spot is important now.
   The Malaysian goals were scored by Razie Rahim (15th) and Shahril Saabah (23rd).
  Meanwhile, World No 1 Australia frolicked in scorching heat to edge Ireland 4-1, while Britain beat Pakistan 2-1 in their other quarter-finals.
  Australia will play Britain in the semi-finals, but they have  virtually checked into the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, as the top three are assured, while the fourth team will also qualify via double qualifications.
  Mat Gohdes (22nd) opened scoring and at the half-time interview, both Ireland and Australian coaches Craig Fulton and Graham Reid respectively said their players must be patience in the second half.
   Australia were more patience, and worked themselves up the ladder with three more beautiful goals to deny a fighting Irish their moment in the sun.
   Jamie Dwyer (45th), Simon Orchard (55th) and Blake Govers (55th) wrapped up the match for Australia, while the Irish consolation was scored by Shane O'Donoghue (57th).
  The Britain goals were scored by Chris Griffiths (fourth) and Alastair Brogdon (ninth) while the Pakistan goal was scored by Umar Bhutta (48th).