Hockey: Malaysia win World League Round 2 in Singapore
- Updated: January 25, 2015
January 25, 2015: Player of the Tournament Faizal Saari produced yet another stunning individual performance to guide Malaysia, ranked 12th on the FIH World Ranking, to a sensational 8-0 victory over Poland (World No. 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 they enter the World League Semi-Final Olympic qualifiers in confident mood.
Team manager Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad said: “This is the kind of performance that we have been looking for from the players and they were simply magical against Poland. 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 (World No. 15), who ensured that they would be joining Malaysia and Poland in the World League Semi-Finals by defeating Oman (No. 23) to finish third. 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.
Japanese newcomer Shunya Miyazaki, 20, was named as Best Young Player, with Takashi Yoshikawa Best Goalkeeper.
Earlier in the day, Ukraine (No. 24) finished fifth with a 3-1 victory against Bangladesh (No. 29), while hosts Singapore (No. 37) secured seventh after a 4-3 triumph over Mexico (No. 36).
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)
Source: FIH Hockey World League Round 2 Singapore (http://events.fih.ch/new/competition/415); Editing by SportAsia