FIH Men’s Series Final Full Day Report


Italy continued their giant killing act as the lowest ranked team in the World Series Final in Kuala Lumpur defeated Malaysia 4-2 to top Pool B.

Joining Italy into the semis was Austria who defeated Wales 2-0 to top Pool A.

Canada who defeated Belarus 6-2 will play China , who struggled to edge Brazil 3-2 to make the playoffs.

It was one of the biggest upsets in world hockey as Malaysia are ranked 13 in the world and were favourites to win this match.

This result means Italy go directly into the semis and will play the winner of the playoff between Canada and China.

As for Malaysia, they are taking a longer route and have to play Wales in the playoff to book a date in the semis against Austria.

“ No one likes to lose and we are obviously disappointed with the result.” said Faisal Saari.

“ We need to pick up the pieces and need to get our act together , especially the forwards who need to make use of chances created.

“ Perhaps I need to go back to my central strikers role to be more effective.”

The  hosts started off aggressively as Italy opted to have numbers in defence.

As the match progressed, Italy started making inroads into Malaysian defence

Italy took the lead via a penalty corner in the 9th minute as Thomas Keenan drag slick sailed into the roof of the Malaysian goal with keeper Hairi Rahman in no position to get a hand to it.

Malaysia were denied the equaliser at the end of the first quarter when keeper Francesco Padovani pulled off a double save to deny Syed Shafiq Syed Chouhan and Najmi Farizal from a penalty corner.

Faisal Saari took responsibility for Malaysia’s third penalty corner to send a wonderful drag flick into the left hand corner to draw Malaysia level in the 26th minute.

Italy needed only 30 seconds after halftime to score with Augustin Nunez deflected past substitute keeper Hafizudfin Othman. 

It took Malaysia only three minutes to equalise as Razie Rahim converted a penalty corner in the 35th minute.

Suddenly the game changed in favour of Italy.

They converted their second penalty corner with Nunez deflecting a penalty corner attempt by Keenan  to give Italy a 3-2 lead in the 43rd minute.

And just before the hooter to end the third quarter, Francois Sior scored from an acute angle to make it 4-2 in favour of Italy.

And when the final hooter went. Italy celebrated as if they were already in Tokyo 2020 while Malaysian players buried their heads in their funds.

China were made to work hard by a battling Brazil before prevailing 3-2.

The world 14 ranked China had to come from two goals down in the first quarter to book a place in the quarterfinal stage where they will play Canada.

“ We are glad to have won this match and we did it the hard way,” said man of the match Li Lixing.

“ We took a while getting used to the weather condition as it was humid for us.

“ And having to play out of defence all the time made it difficult to mount better attacks.”

Brazil took the lead from their first penalty corner through a deft deflection via Yuri Van Der Heijdn in the 7th minute.

And they doubled their advantage, also through another penalty corner in the 10th minute , this time through Joaquin Lopez.

China were stunned but managed to reduce the deficit through Su Lixing in the 13th minute.

China dominated much of the possession and territorial advantage but just could not find the goal.

Eventually they managed to get their second goal in the 45th minute with Tu Yuan Lin concerting their eight penalty corner of the match.

Dong Yang scored the winner in the 56th minute as his cross was turned into his own goal by an unfortunate Paul Duncker.

Austria emerged as the top team of Pool A after a hard earned 2-0 win over Wales.

The win gave Austria 6 points as a result of the win today and the 5-0 win over Belarus,

They had lost 2-1 to Canada who are placed second, also on six points but an inferior goal difference.

While Austria moved directly into the semi final stage, Canada will play the third places team from Pool A in the quarterfinals.

Wales are third and also made the cut for the playoff where they will meet the second placed team of Pool B.

“ We have played Wales many times before and know their game very well,@ said goalscorer Dominic

“ The goals in our first match helped us and we knew going into the match today that we need a win to top the pool and we were focussed to do just that.”

Two penalty corner conversions gave three points to Austria who scored through Dominic Uher ( 37th minute) and Florian Eyrer ( 55th minute). 

Canada defeated Belarus 6-2 in a match played under humid conditions.

The two teams were clearly affected by the conditions and failed to lift their game to higher standards.

“ It was tough playing under these brutal conditions. And I am glad that not only did we get the three points but a good goal difference,” said man of the match James Wallace.

“ Six points will get us through to the knockout stage but we just have to wait and see if it’s enough to take top spot in our pool.”

Brenden  Blisset was on target in the 20th and 21st minute to give Canada a comfortable 2-0 lead at the end and f the second quarter.

Oliver Scholfield made it 3-0 in the 32nd minute 

Vadzim Andarchul reduced the deficit for Belarus in the 40th minute.

However Canada edged ahead to 4-1 lead with James Wallace finding the back of the net s minute later.

Another break from the right saw Iain Smythe making it 5-1 in the 42nd minute and it was a question of how many more Canada will add on in the fourth quarter.

Belarus kept on pressing and were duly rewarded with a second goal in the 52nd minute courtesy of Ihar  Yasoshxhankau.

Skipper Scott Tupper ensured a big win by concerting a penalty corner in the 60th minute for a final scoreline of 6-2.

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