Malaysia’s Young Tigers gave a courageous performance against Pakistan despite going down 2-3 in their last Group B match in the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.
Amin Rahim’s Colts were down 0-3 by the 24th minute and after overcoming early mistakes they rallied back strongly to score two goals in the fourth quarter reduce the deficit. That was as far as they could do as the clock ticked away for the final hooter.
Malaysian juniors captain Faris Harizan and defender Wan Muhammad Najmie recovered from injuries and their presence on the field was a welcome sign, considering their opponents are no pushovers. In Oman, the Malaysians lost 2-6 to the Pakistanis at the Junior Asia Cup.
:”We had many circle penetrations as well as penalty corners in all three games but failed to put the ball ibn the goalmouth and that is our biggest problem which we must rectify in the next few weeks,” said Amin. “They did play badly for 30 minutes, and I was aggressive with them for 10 minutes in the dressing room, and they came out fighting for a draw. That is the kind of attitude I want in the Junior World Cup (JWC),” said Amin.
The Malaysians finished at the bottom of the four-team Group B matches with no points to their credit. They will play Great Britain in the 5th-8th playoff matches on Thursday. The semi-finals will be between Australia-Pakistan and India-Germany on Friday.
The Young Tigers started the game brightly but could not open the scoring despite earning a penalty corner in the fourth minute. Shahmie Irfan Suhaimi’s direct flick was cleared by goalkeeper Abdul Sajid who was aptly presented with the Man of the Match award,
The Pakistanis, on the opposite end, were quick to get up the pace and the remainder of the first quarter was evenly contested until Abuzar netted the first goal for Pakistan in the 13th minute from a field goal execution.
They gained control again in the 21st minute and doubled the score through Arbaz Ahmad’s penalty corner conversion, and Muhammad Khan extended the score to 3-0 in the 24th minute from a penalty corner, leaving the Malaysian to try and chase the deficit in the third quarter.
Back by the strong support from more than 2,000 fans, the young tigers were committed to the attack in the hope of clawing back a goal. They were merciless as they went about their task as hunters rather than be preyed upon. The Pakistanis fell deep into submission many times as Faris and his ‘band of proud warriors’ mounted several raids in the third quarter.
The Malaysians had a combined of eight penalty corner opportunities in the third and fourth quarters itself and succeeded in scoring two. Shahmie Irfan fired home from one in the 48th minute and Shafiq Ahmad Daniel tapped the ball past goalkeeper Abdul Sajid for the second goal.
Sajid had diligently stopped the Malaysians from scoring close to six penalty corner attempts, and close-range strikes.