AMAZ­ING COME­BACK

Malaysia beat China to win World League Round Two gold

New Straits Times - - Sport - JUGJET SINGH DHAKA jug jet@nst.com.my

MALAYSIA played hot and cold to snatch the World League Round Two gold medal from the jaws of China in Dhaka, Bangladesh, yes­ter­day.

From a bungling side, miss­ing 10 penalty cor­ners and one penalty stroke, Malaysia (13th) came back from two goals down to hold China (18th) at 2-2 and then win the shootout 5-3 with ease.

It was a hard-fought match, but the play­ers de­serve credit as it was the first time they had to come from be­hind to win a match in Dhaka. The gold was won by win­ning all six matches here.

Malaysia and China, by reach­ing the fi­nal, had qual­i­fied for the World League Semi-fi­nals and will play ei­ther in Johannesburg on July 9-23, or Lon­don on June 15-25.

China goal­keeper Ming Cheng played the game of his life to stop eight penalty cor­ners and one penalty stroke in the first half to deny Malaysia.

The first 30 min­utes, on a dry pitch due to strong winds, saw Malaysia at­tack­ing in full force, but in the two times China came into the semi-cir­cle, they scored.

First, Du Ta­laga scored off their first and only penalty cor­ner in the 15th minute, while Jun Su made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute from close range.

Razie Rahim tried di­rect penalty cor­ner at­tempts and set-pieces but Cheng made sure he stopped all.

And in the 25th minute, Na­jmi Ja­zlan made Cheng look good by flick­ing straight to­wards him when pre­sented with a penalty stroke.

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 suc­cess­ful, as Na­jmi Ja­zlan scored the equaliser.

Coach Stephen van Huizen was not happy with the first two quar­ters, but said they ac­com­plished both their mis­sions,

“Ob­vi­ously, I’m not happy with the way they played for 30 min­utes, but the come­back was good and it handed them (play­ers) a valu­able les­son — not to un­der­es­ti­mate any team, re­gard­less of their rank­ings,” said van Huizen.

The coach was also pleased with the shootout: “We scored all five goals, even though the China goal­keeper played a su­per game to deny a dozen penalty cor­ners and a penalty stroke.

“We came here to qual­ify for the World League Semi-fi­nals and also de­fend our gold won in the Sin­ga­pore World League and we ac­com­plished both.

“Now, we need to work harder to give our best in the World League Semi­fi­nals and qual­ify for the World Cup in In­dia.”

RE­SULTS — Fi­nal: Malaysia 2 China 2 (Malaysia won shootout 5-3); ThirdFourth: Oman 1 Egypt 5; Fifth-Sixth:

Bangladesh 3 Ghaha 3 (Bangladesh win sud­den-death shootout 4-3); Seven­thEighth: Fiji 3 Sri Lanka 5.

Malaysian play­ers and of­fi­cials cel­e­brate after win­ning ther World League Round Two fi­nal against China in Dhaka yes­ter­day.

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