IT was goals galore in a high-scoring match as Great Britain shut out the gritty Malaysians with a 7-4 win in the 5-8th classifications playoff match at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium on Thursday night.
Both teams earned tickets to the classifications round after dismal finishing in the preliminary round group matches. The Britons will now go into showdown with New Zealand in the 5th-6th playoff match. The Kiwis had defeated South Africa 3-1, for the 5th-8th playoff while the Malaysians will play the South Africans to avoid the wooden spoon.
The Britons fired quick blows on the Malaysians, as early as the fifth minute. Matthew Hughson converted a penalty corner to put his side 1-0 ahead, Ted Graves made a brilliant maneuver in the circle and tapped the ball past goalkeeper Mohamad Rafaizul to extend the lead 2-0 while Ali Douglas netted the third goal in the 15th minute as India took a comfortable 3-0 lead.
“Our conversion rate was better than in previous matches. We had four penalty corners and scored three. That is a 75 percent success rate. Unlike in some matches we only relied on the same flicker but today we showed we have about four others who are capable of doing the job,” said coach Amin Rahim.
“We came prepared for Britain’s attacks, but the players failed to follow instructions. As a result, Great Britain score five field goals. And also received a yellow card,” he said.
The yellow card was served to Che Nur Aqilrullah in the eighth minute for a diving tackle on a player to score.
But New Zealand, who started the match on the front foot and riding high on optimism and passion, crumbled under immense pressure between the 22nd to the 27th minutes, rolling back deep into defense as the marauding Young Tigers went into attacking mode.
Team captain Faris Harizan (22nd), Andywalfian Jeffrynus (24th) and Osman Haris (27th) scored a goal each within a space of five minutes as the Malaysians level score 3-3 at the end of the second quarter. The Britons went on to score four more goals – Jacob Baton netted a brace (36th, 42nd), Hanry Markham (49th) and Rory Penrose (54th) while the Young Tigers nailed the fourth goal through Faris’ (44th minute) as the match ended 7-4 in favour of Great Britain.