Dhaka (12 March, 2017): Malaysia came back from two goals down to hold China to a 2-2 draw and then prevailed 5-3 in penalty shootout in the final of the Men’s Hockey World League Round Two at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium today.
Placed 13th in the FIH World Rankings, Stephen van Huizen’s Malaysia Tigers trailed by two goals against the 18th-ranked China early in the game.
The Chinese, who lost 5-1 to Malaysians in the Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan last October, stunned the national team with goals from Du Talake off a penalty corner in the 15th minute before Su Jun doubled the score seven minutes later.
The Malaysians had a penalty stroke awarded in the 25th minute but Najmi Farizal Jazlan’s flick was saved by goalkeeper Ming Cheng.
However, the Tigers roared back in the last quarter of the game with penalty corner goals from Shahril Saabah (46th) and Najmi Farizal in the 55th minute to force a penalty shootout.
All five Malaysian players – Nik Aiman Nik Rozemi, Faiz Helmi Jali, Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil and Mohd
Fitri Saari were on target while only E Liguang, Ao Suozhu and Gua Zixiang were successful for China.
Malaysia and China, however, have booked their spots in the World League Semi-finals to be played at two venues – London, England (June 15-25) and Johannesburg, South Africa (July 9-23). The World League Semi-finals also doubles up as a qualifying event for next year’s World Cup in New Delhi.
“I know that my boys will never give up until the last minute. The turning point in the match was when Shahril scored off a penalty corner and I knew it that we will get the equalising goal,” said Stephen.
“I am happy that we retained the World League Round Two title, which we won in Singapore. We have achieved our target to win in Dhaka for a place in the World League Semi-finals,” he said, adding that the players will be given two weeks of rest before preparations for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh (from April 29 to May 9) begins.
Results – Final: Malaysia 2 China 2 (Malaysia won 5-3 in penalty shootout)
Third Placing: Egypt 5 Oman 1
Fifth-Sixth Placing: Bangladesh 3 Ghana 3 (Bangladesh won 4-3 in penalty shootout)
Seventh-Eighth Placing: Sri Lanka 5 Fiji 3.