Player of the Tournament Faizal Saari produced yet another stunning individual performance to guide Malaysia (FIH World Ranking: 12) to a sensational 8-0 victory over Poland (WR: 18) in the final of the men’s Hockey World League Round 2 event in Singapore.
In front of a capacity crowd, the prolific 24-year-old needed just three minutes to open the match scoring, burying his 11th goal of the tournament to give his side an early advantage before a double strike from Razie Rahim moved Malaysia into a 3-0 lead inside the opening 25 minutes.
Faizal claimed his second goal of the match just after half time with Nabil Noor, Tengku Ahmad and Muhammad Shamsul taking the score to 7-0 before Razie completed his hat-trick in the final minute of the match. It was a wonderful triumph for the Malaysians, ensuring that will enter the Hockey World League Semi-Final Olympic qualifiers in confident mood.
"This is the kind of performance that we have been looking for from the players, and they were simply magical against Poland”, said team manager Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad after the match. "The MHC (Malaysian Hockey Confederation) had targeted for them to play in the final, but we are very proud of them because they went one step further and claimed a crucial gold medal, which has eluded Malaysia for a very long time."
It also proved to be a fantastic day for Japan (WR: 15), who ensured that they would be joining Malaysia and Poland in the HWL Semi-Finals by defeating Oman (WR: 23) to take 3rd place. The Oman defence held firm until the 36th minute when Kenta Tanaka finally made the breakthrough, with Kazuma Murata, Hirotaka Zendana and Kenji Kitazato all firing home to give Japan a 4-0 triumph.
The announcement of the tournament's individual award winners provided even more good news for Japan, with 20-year-old newcomer Shunya Miyazaki being named as “Best Young Player” while Takashi Yoshikawa taking the “Best Goalkeeper” prize.
Earlier in the day, Ukraine (WR: 24) took 5th place with a 3-1 victory against Bangladesh (WR: 29), while host nation Singapore (WR: 37) finished 7th thanks to a 4-3 triumph over Mexico (WR: 36).
Complete tournament information from Singapore can be found on the official event website by clicking here.
1: Malaysia – Qualified for Semi-Finals of Hockey World League
2: Poland – Qualified for Semi-Finals of Hockey World League
3: Japan – Qualified for Semi-Finals of Hockey World League
Player of the Tournament: Faizal Saari (MAS)
Top Scorer: Faizal Saari (MAS) - 12 goals
Young Player of the Tournament: Shunya Miyazaki (JPN)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Takashi Yoshikawa (JPN)