Malaysia thrashed Egypt 5-0 in the semifinal of the World Hockey League Round 2 in Dhaka, Bangadesh to set up an intriguing final against relative newcomers China, who breezed past Oman 5-1 in the other semifinal at the Maulana Bhashani Hockey Stadium today.
The national team’s dash to the title match will surely give the Malaysian camp and team captain Muhammad Sukri Mutalib and massive boost as they have accomplished part one of their mission of advancing to the final.
“The match today, for me, was a perfect one in all departments especially as the players showed a high level of commitment,” said an elated Sukri.
“We played as a team and were very successful in our attacks. We also defended very well and that was what we needed.
“Of course we are very happy to have had accomplished the first part of our mission of advancing to the final. However, the job is not done yet as we have a good China side to contend with for the title. But we are focused and hope to return home as Round 2 champions,” added the 31-year-old captain when contacted.
The national team opened the scoring in the 15th minute courtesy of Razie Rahim’s successful penalty conversion before Fitri Saari made it 2-0 in the second quarter. Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin put the match beyond the reach of the Egyptians to give Malaysia a 3-0 cushion going into the half-time break.
The Malaysians refused to take their foot of the pedal on resumption of play and added a fourth through Shahril Saabah’s field goal in the 49th minute.
Nik Muhammad Aiman Nik Rozemi then sealed the proceedings when he drilled home a beautiful-stroked field goal for Malaysia’s fifth.
Sukri is pretty confident his teammates have it in them to step up a notch when they take on China as they are determined to return home with the Hockey World League Round 2 title.
“We are ever ready for the match tomorrow and will do our utmost to ensure our mission to be champions is accomplished,” said a very calm Sukri.
Malaysia play China in tomorrow’s final which starts at 6pm Malaysian time.