7/8: Pakistan power to 6-2 victory over South Africa
Japan – Malaysia 1-1 (1-1) (Shoot-out 3-4)
Malaysia won a dramatic penalty shoot-out against Japan to claim 5th place at the Hockey World League Semi Final in Johor Bahru. The two teams finished normal time with scores bolted together at 1-1, but two misses efforts in the shoot-out from Japan’s from Heita Yoshihara and Kei Kawakami gave Malaysia a fine win.
Today’s result significantly boosts Malaysia’s chances of landing a place for the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup should they not achieve qualification through their continental championship.
A big crowd turned up to watch the home team in action and made a huge amount of noise, singing and drumming their way throughout virtually every minute of the contest. In the tenth minute, the partisan fans were given the perfect reason to cheer, when Muhammad Razie Abd Rahim netted his sixth goal of the tournament, rattling home a penalty corner to give Malaysia a deserved lead after dominating the early stages.
Japan improved as the half progressed, and began to ask some serious questions of the Malaysian defence with some positive attacking play. They pulled themselves level in the 29th minute thanks to a super-slick penalty corner routine which saw three passes and a close range deflection from Shinji Kawauchi.
Just before half time, Japan came within a whisker of moving ahead in the match when team captain Koji Kayukawa’s deflected penalty corner effort flew just wide of the left post.
The early stages of the second half was evenly contested between these two giants of Asian hockey, with both sides creating goal-scoring opportunities. A wonderful, driving run into the circle from Japan’s Heita Yoshihara resulted in a penalty corner, but the chance went begging before an Abd Rahim set piece drag-flick was charged down by the Japanese defence.
The final stages of the match were controlled by Malaysia, but the Japanese defenders made numerous crucial tackles to deny the home favourites and force the second penalty shoot-out of the tournament.
The first four shoot-out efforts were scored before Malaysia handed the initiative to Japan when Faiz Helmi Jali missed before Koshi Yamabi reinforced the Japanese advantage. However, misses from Japan’s Heita Yoshihara and Kei Kawakami gave Malaysia a thrilling victory, with Muhammad Firhan Ashaari and Mohd Fitri Saari converting glorious efforts before the crowd went wild.
South Africa – Pakistan 2-6 (0-1)
Pakistan ended their tournament on a positive note by defeating South Africa 6-2 in the 7-8 placement game at the Hockey World League Semi Final event in Johor Bahru. The Greenshirts coped well with a spell of early South African dominance to take a 1-0 lead into half time before scoring five times in the second half, with Muhammad Waqas, Muhammad Rizwan Sr, Aamir Shazad, Abdul Haseem Khan (2) and Abbas Haider Bilgrami doing the damage. The result means that Pakistan secure a seventh place finish in the tournament, with South Africa forced into eighth.
South Africa were impressive in the early stages of the half, but Pakistan soon woke up and began to put pressure on Erasmus Pieterse’s goal. The first strike of the half arrived in the 22nd minute when Waqas bundled home a penalty corner, before three goals in quick succession at the start of the second half from Muhammad Rizwan Sr, Aamir Shazad, Abdul Haseem Khan moved the score to 4-0. Abbas Haider Bilgrami cracked home a fifth in the 53rdminute before South Africa staged a mini revival thanks to field goals from Timothy Drummond and Lloyd Norris-Jones.
The final goal of the game came from Haseem Khan, who netted his seventh of the tournament four minutes from full time.Back