Saturday, 05 May 2012 17:16

Malaysia virtually booked a place in the semi finals of the Asia Junior Cup when they defeated Korea 6-3 at the MBM Stadium in Malacca, Malaysia.

More importantly it brought them a step closer to qualifying for the 2013 Junior World Cup that will be held in November next year in New Delhi.

Watched by the President of the Malaysian Hockey Federation Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and a cheered on by a crowd of 3,500 fans, Malaysia took their chances well to carve out te win against a resilient Korean side who never gave up despite being 1-4 down at one stage.

But a hattrick by senior international Faisal Saari helped Malaysia to stave off the Koreans.

Korea went on the offensive mode from the first whistle and were awarded a penalty corner in the 3rd minute. But the opportunity was wasted as they opted for a set piece that even had their own players confused.

Where Korea fumbled Malaysia did not. Off their first penalty corner in the 6th minute Faisal Saari sent the ball into the roof of the net to give Malaysia a 1-0 lead and the crowd at the packed stadium went wild.

Seven minutes later Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof burst through the right and took a shot off an acute angle. Korean keeper Lee Seyoung made a hash of it as the ball hit his pads and sailed into goal to give Malaysia a 2-0 lead.

But Korea hit back in the 22nd minute through Yang Jihun whose low drag flick had the Malaysian keeper Hazrul Faiz beaten all the way.

Korea were rejuvenated and played more aggressively than their opponents and came close to equalizing when Seo Inwoo burst through the middle had it not been for Hazrul who came out of the semi circle to deny the Korean.

At halftime Malaysia led 2-1.

Malaysia were a man down when skipper Muhd Noor Faeez Ibrahim was yellow carded for protesting a penalty corner awarded to Korea in the 37th minute. But Korea failed to score.

Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi almost extended Malaysia’s lead in the 39th minute but was a trifle to slow to execute a shot and the danger was cleared.

But two minutes later he capitalized on a slip by Korea’s Lee Mook Young and slotted the ball past Lee Seyoung to put Malaysia 3-1 ahead.

Malaysia were awarded a penalty stroke in the 45th minute when the attempt by Firhan Ashaari hit the foot of Mook Young on the goal line with the keeper beaten. Umpire Fernando Gomes did not hesitate to award a penalty stroke which Faisal duly converted to make it 4-1 in favour of Malaysia.

Korea were shocked but got their act together and reduced the deficit in the 48th minute through Jeong Young Seok.

Faisal completed his hattrick in the 57th minute, sending a stupendous reverse stick shot from the edge of the semi circle into the roof of the Korean goal. And Malaysia had a 5-2 lead.

Korea scored their third in the 60th minute as skipper Jihun converted their sixth penalty corner to reduce the deficit to 5-3.

But any notion of a fightback was extinguished by Faeez who converted a penalty corner in the 67th minute to extend the scoreline to 6-3.

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