Monday, July 08, 2013

Malaysia rise from the ashes

Race is on: Malaysia’s Chua Boon Huat vying with Pakistan’s Aamir Shahzad during their World Hockey League match at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru on Saturday. – ABDUL RAHMAN EMBONG / The Star
Race is on: Malaysia’s Chua Boon Huat vying with Pakistan’s Aamir Shahzad during their World Hockey League match at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru on Saturday. – ABDUL RAHMAN EMBONG / The Star

JOHOR BARU: Malaysia defied the odds to beat world No. 5 Pakistan 3-1 in the classification playoffs of the World Hockey League at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium.

Yesterday’s win sees world No. 13 Malaysia setting up a fifth placing playoff against Japan today.

And Paul Revington described his first win over Pakistan as the coach of Malaysia as “very important”.

“Yes, the win is significant as it keeps us in the running for fifth placing. Beating Pakistan is also crucial, especially after the loss to Germany in the quarter-finals,” said Revington.

“We were slow off the blocks but still better than when we played against the Germans.

“Matches against Pakistan are always tight as they tend to be cautious at the back.

“But today the players took their chances well and kept a tight leash on their forwardline.”

Malaysia, who began with Roslan Jamaluddin taking over from S. Kumar in goal, took the lead in the 14th minute off their first penalty corner as Mohd Razie Rahim took his tally to five in the tournament.

But a defensive lapse two minutes later saw Shafqat Rassol equalise for Pakistan from close range.

Malaysia continuous onslaught paid off in the 19th minute when Faizal Saari’s free hit from outside the D was deflected into goal by goalkeeper Imran Butt.

Malaysia stretched their lead in the 39th minute when Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin capitalised on a loose ball in the D to slam past Imran.

Pakistan tried hard to reduce the deficit but just could not find a way past goalkeeper Kumar, who came on in the second half.

Malaysia will now have to switch their focus to Japan, who beat South Africa 1-0 in a penalty shootout after both teams were tied 2-2 in regulation time.


By S. RAMAGURU - THE STAR

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