POOL B: England were held to a 3-3 draw by South Africa in the final match of the day here at the men’s Hockey World League Semi Final in Johor Bahru. A 70th minute penalty corner from Richard Smith gave England a point in a match that they had trailed in for long periods. The result means that all four teams in Pool B are level on one point each, following Pakistan's draw with Malaysia earlier in the day.
Full reports about the matches can be found below, along with video highlights.
England - South Africa 3-3 (1-2)
England were held to a 3-3 draw by South Africa in the final match of the day here at the men’s Hockey World League Semi Final in Johor Bahru. A 70th minute penalty corner from Richard Smith gave England a point in a match that they had trailed in for long periods. The result means that all four teams in Pool B are level on one point each.
South Africa drew first blood as early as the 6th minute in the contest when a speculative cross-field pass from the left somehow found its way to the unmarked Julian Hykes, who turned smartly before lashing a thunderbolt finish past goalkeeper George Pinner. It was a brilliant strike from the South African, who smashed his effort into the smallest of targets, giving the England shot-stopper absolutely no chance of making the save.
Hykes doubled the South African advantage five minutes later when he cut along the backline caught Pinner off guard with a snap-shot which ricocheted off the keeper’s pads and into the roof of the net. South Africa were well on top, but England managed to reduce the deficit in the 13th minute through an own goal. Lance Louw was the unfortunate player, who inadvertently guided a cross from the right beyond the despairing dive of RSA keeper Erasmus Pieterse.
The remainder of the half was a battle royale, with both sides giving everything to the cause but making a number of unforced errors on an extremely humid Malaysian evening.
It was England who scored the first goal after half time, with Ben Arnold forcing the ball home after a Mark Gleghorne burst away from the South African defenders before teeing up his compatriot with a perfectly weighted pass.
Both teams lost players in the 63rd minute for separate offences, with South Africa’s Lloyd Norris-Jones and Henry Weir of England being shown yellow cards. South Africa took advantage of the extra space and moved into a 3-2 lead thanks to a slick penalty corner routine converted by Tim Drummond, who guided a deflection into the roof of the net following a superb pass from captain Austin Smith. However, England grabbed a share of the spoils with a penalty corner of their own, with Richard Smith finding the bottom left corner with a powerful drag-flick in the last minute of the game.
Pakistan – Malaysia 4-4 (1-3)
World number 5 Pakistan survived a huge scare in their opening match of the Hockey World League Semi Final completion in Johor Bahru, being forced to fight back from 3-0 down to rescue a 4-4 draw against inspired tournament Malaysia, ranked 13th in the world. The host nation produced a superb display but could not hold on against their illustrious opponents, who rallied hard in the second period.
Malaysia were hugely impressive in the opening 20 minutes of the match, totally dominating their higher ranked rivals and netting three goals in quick succession. All of the goals came from penalty corners, with Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim scoring two beautifully executed drag flicks before Muhammad Marhan Mohd Jalil followed up another Razie effort to make the score 3-0 after just 18 minutes of play. Pakistan looked shell-shocked, but soon regrouped and began to find their feet in the match. Their hard work was rewarded when Abdul Haseem Khan reduced the deficit with a superb shot following a saved penalty corner effort, but Pakistan still found themselves trailing 3-1 at the break.
Following the re-start, Malaysia needed just two minutes to re-establish their three goal advantage when Tengku Tajudin Abdul Jalil deflected home from close range, although Pakistan hit back almost immediately through a low Muhammad Tousiq penalty corner. Pakistan superstar Shakeel Abbasi scored a 56th minute penalty stroke to put serious pressure on the home team before an equaliser arrived nine minutes from full time. Greenshirts captain Muhammad Imran was the scorer, arrowing a low drag flick past the left foot of Malaysia goalkeeper Kumar Subramiam.
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