Malaysia beat China to win World League Round Two gold
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.