|November 29th, 2012|
|13||Quarterfinal||8:30am||MAS - RSA||4 - 1 (1 - 0)||Final|
Malaysia outgun South Africa to reach Semi Finals
Pool A winners Malaysia have sealed a place in the Semi Finals of the Argentina Hockey Men’s Champions Challenge 1 thanks to a 4-1 over South Africa. Faizal Saari scored twice in the win, with Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin and Tengku Tajudin Abdul Jalil also scoring. The result means that Malaysia will play the winner of the Quarter Final contest between Japan and Korea in the Semi Finals. South Africa, who scored a consolation goal through team captain Austin Smith, will now play in the 5-8 classification matches.
The unfancied South Africans – who finished fourth in Pool B – actually started the brighter of the two teams, but a brilliant counter-attack saw Malaysia establish a lead after just three minutes when Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin volleyed home from close range. It seemed that Malaysia would extend their advantage midway through the period when they won a trio of penalty corners in quick succession, but they could not find a way past South Africa keeper Jacques Le Roux. South Africa were arguably the better team in the latter stages of the half, with Greg Clark’s men playing with passion as well as a firm belief that they could get themselves back into the game. Miguel da Graca had a glorious chance to equalise when he received the ball in the circle with just the keeper to beat, but he failed to get any power behind his flicked effort before Malaysia cleared their lines.
Malaysia doubled their lead three minutes into the second half when Faizal Saari sent a low penalty corner drag-flick arrowing into the bottom right corner of the goal, before Tengku Tajudin Abdul Jalil went close to making it 3-0 with two chances in quick succession. The South Africans battled hard to find a way back into the match and came close to reducing the deficit when Matt Guise-Brown’s penalty corner flick flew fractionally over the cross-bar shortly before Lonwabo Mvimbi’s low strike brought a fine save from Malaysian shot-stopper Kumar Subramian.
The killer blow arrived with 14 minutes of the match remaining when Tengku Tajudin Abdul Jalil scored a stunning penalty corner deflection to make the score 3-0. Moments later, Faizal Saari claimed his second of the game with a solo effort to end any hopes of a South African fightback. South Africa pressed hard in the final stages of the game and pulled a goal back through an Austin Smith penalty corner, but it proved to be no more than a consolation as Malaysia closed out the game to seal their place in the tournament Semi Finals.
To see the official match sheet, please click here.