(Photo: Stanislas Brochier)

New Zealand vs. Malaysia: 2-3 (half-time: 1-1)

The teams traded penalty-corners in the opening minute of play and Malaysia were successful on their second attempt, after a triple fake found  Muhammad Bin Saabah alone in front of goal, leaving no chance to Richard Joyce in the Kiwis’ goal. New Zealand reacted immediately and forced a series of penalty-corners at the other end, scoring on their forth attempt by Kane Russell to level the score.

The Asian Champions were the more dangerous in the opening period, maintaining New Zealand on the back foot and often threatening Richard Joyce, but they could not capitalize on their domination. New Zealand were only dangerous on a lone penalty-corner but managed to weather the storm and reach the break on par.

Malaysia took control of the proceedings early in second period by Muhammad Bin Baharom and could have scored a few more goals in the following minutes but the Kiwis once again held tight to keep their deficit to a minimum. They forced a penalty-corner on one of their rare incursions in Malaysian territory and Kane Russell dutifully converted it to tie the score once again.

Russell had another attempt soon after but Hafizuddin Othman managed a spectacular high dive to protect the Malaysian goal. With support from the local crowd, Malaysia surged forward in the final ten minutes and earned a penalty-corner on a video-referral. It had to be retaken several times but Firhan Ashari finally managed to push it in goal after Richard Joyce made the initial save but the defense failed to clear the ball.

Tempers flared up in the final minutes of the match, but Malaysia hanged up to their narrow lead to open their 2013 Hero Hockey Junior World Cup campaign with a deserved win.

For more information and pictures of NZL vs. MAS, click here.


England vs. South Africa: 1-2 (half-time: 1-1)

A dominant England side showed up to the pitch against South Africa for the final pool D clash of the 2013 Hero Hockey Junior World Cup. England put on a showcase of skill array, owning the midfield and generating several opportunities in the early get-going.

In the 5th minute of play a hard hit into the circle took a nifty deflection by Arjan Drayton-Chana past South African keeper Richard Curtis. The ball slowed towards the goal line but David Goodfield was there to finish and give England the 1-0 lead.

England continued to dominate in possession but a feisty and resilient South African side were rewarded with an equalizer through Andrew Manson. Manson batted home a rebound off England keeper Harry Gibson in the 34th minute to keep the game tied at one entering half time.

In the second frame the high tempo and physicality between both teams picked up allowing for opportunities in both ends of the pitch. South Africa weathered off a storm of England attack and earned a penalty corner in the 59th minute. The resulting drag flick was fired low and then deflected up and in off the reverse stick of the South African captain Dylan Swanpoel. The final score remained 2-1 in favour of South Africa, who now join Malaysia at the top of pool D.

For more information and pictures of ENG vs. RSA, click here.