Report courtesy of the New Straits Times.
New Straits Times: Malaysia were just 42 seconds away from joy but it was heartbreak instead as Pakistan first forced a 2-2 draw before clinching the Six-Nation-Hockey Invitational on penalty strokes at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
The national juniors, preparing for the Junior World Cup in May, collapsed after the defeat but they can walk tall for they tried hard and had they been just a little luckier, the title would have been theirs.
Supported by a good turnout, Malaysia controlled the match for the first 15 minutes, but failed to take the lead, as they played too low at the back while Pakistan just waited for their moment.
In the 16th minute, Pakistan received their first penalty corner. Imran Warsi's flick was parried away by Megat Azrafiq, but the umpire gave a penalty stroke instead.
Imran stood at the spot, and even though goalkeeper Khairul Nizam dived in the right direction, he was a fraction too late to make a save.
But even before the Pakistanis could celebrate the lead, Malaysia started attacking in waves and in the 22nd minute, Zulkiffli Rejab's free hit went sailing through a sea of Pakistan legs, and at the other end was Kelvinder Singh, who coolly tucked in the equaliser.
The match went into high gear after that, for the rest of the half, and with five seconds remaining on the clock, Malaysia were in Pakistan’s circle, when tensions ran high and Pakistan's Yasir Islam took a swipe at Sallehin Ghani.
There was much pushing and shoving, until the umpire flashed the yellow card to Yasir.
Pakistan went into the breather under pressure, with one less player to rely upon.
A steady drizzle followed the teams onto the pitch but it failed to dampen Malaysia's spirits as Pakistan were reduced to backpeddling.
Pakistan had no answers as Malaysia pushed forward. In the 47th minute, Shahrun Nabil slammed in a free-hit and Malaysia were in the driver's seat.
S. Selvaraju almost increased the lead a minute later, but his on-the-run hit crashed into the bar and went whizzing sideways.
In the 53rd minute, a hard-working Malaysian team won their first penalty corner but Zulkiffli's push was saved.
Malaysia were on top for most of the second half but as the minutes ticked away, they lost a bit of their discipline and 42 seconds from the final hooter, Shakeel Abbasi struck the equaliser which forced sudden-death extra time.
No goals were forthcoming in extra time and when it came to strokes, Pakistan were the masters.
India third in junior hockey tournament
Report courtesy rediff.com.
Defending champions India had to be content with a third place finish after defeating Korea 3-2.
The Indians, who missed on a final berth after losing their final league encounter to hosts Malaysia on Saturday, trailed 0-1 at the breather but came back strongly in the second half to emerge victorious.
Adam Sinclair scored a brace and Vikram Kant netted one for India, while both the goals for the Koreans came from penalty corners.
The first goal for India came after a skilful execution of the stick by Sinclair, who a flicked a long pass deftly into the net.
The Olympian scored the winning goal through a well co-ordianated move.
Earlier, the start of the match was delayed by 45 minutes and was later suspended for 35 minutes in the second half due to heavy downpour which lashed the Malaysian capital and surrounding areas.
"We played a good attacking game today and it paid off as we won the match," Indian coach Harendra Singh said after the match.
However, Harendra was very upset with the umpiring in the tournament and said the decisions to give yellow cards to his players on account of 'body language' during the matches against Pakistan and Malaysia - which India lost - were not understandable.
"When Europeans play it is taken as a normal game but when we play it is construed as body language," Singh noted.
He admitted that the umpire's decision had to be respected but hoped that such instances would not be repeated at the Junior World Cup, in Netherlands from 29 June.
"I and the boys have learnt a lot during this tournament. We need to work hard and do our homework," he said, adding, that he hoped that he would be chosen as the coach of the junior side to Netherlands.
Malaysia 2 defeated Pakistan 2 (Pakistan won 4-2 on penalty strokes)
3rd Place Playoff
India 3 defeated Korea 2
5th Place Playoff
Germany 2 defeated England 2 (Germany won 4-3 on penalty strokes)
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