The Malaysian Juniors tasted victory at last in the 11th edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium on Friday.
Following three consecutive defeats in the group stage, and a 7-4 drubbing by Great Britain in the 5-8th classification matches on Thursday, the host clawed back from a goal down to triumph 3-2 infront of more than 1,500 fans.
“Well, at last we managed to win a match in the tournament and I see at as a positive sign. The players self confidence level tells us from the score. Each time we are down we comeback strongly for the goals,” said coach Amin Rahim.
“When we go back, we will do a post mortem. As for the penalty corners, yes there are some weaknesses. I cannot blame the flicker if the problems lie with the injector or stopper. We must improve our goal scoring chances.”
It took the South Africans, ranked No 10 in the FIH World Junior Rankings, just 10 minutes to expose the Achilles hell in the Malaysian defensive structure. Viwe Mbata tapped the ball past goalkeeper Mohamad Rafaizul to give his side a 1-0 lead. It was Mbata’s second goal in the tournament.
“The young tigers, who are ranked World No 8, restored parity two minutes later through Che Nur Aqilrullah powerful shot that sailed past goalkeeper Devan van Niekerk and into goal. The score stood at 1-1 at the end of the first half.
The Malaysians went 2-1 through Harris Osman’s 39th minute field goal and never once in the tournament did the Malaysians held on to a lead. Cameron Le Forestier found space and sneaked the ball into goal to level score 2-2.
It took the brilliance of Kamal Mughni to score the winning goal in the four minutes to the end of the final hooter. Malaysia 3 South Africa 2. Midfielder Wan Mohammad Najmie was the pick for the Man of the Match award.
In the 2022 edition of the SOJC, the South Africans defeated the Malaysians 3-2 in the playoff for 5-6th placing.