Sport

Published: Saturday December 21, 2013 MYT 6:29:00 PM
Updated: Saturday December 21, 2013 MYT 8:03:53 PM

Men’s hockey team romp to gold as expected

The Malaysian fans cheer the national hockey team on to the gold medal in the men's final against Singapore on Saturday.

The Malaysian fans cheer the national hockey team on to the gold medal in the men's final against Singapore on Saturday.

NAYPYITAW: A superb first-half performance paved the way for the Malaysian men’s hockey side to win the SEA Games gold medal with a commanding 5-0 victory over Singapore at the Thein Phyu Hockey Stadium in Yangon.

Four goals in 25 minutes of the first half effectively killed off the tie and secured Malaysian men’s hockey a record 14th gold medal in the biennial Games.

Realising that Singapore will be parking the bus in front of their goal, Malaysia opted to go for an early goal yesterday.

Tai Beng Hai’s side only needed to wait for seven minutes to score the opening goal through Azreen Nasir.

Singapore had no answer to Malaysia’s fast-paced attacks and it did not come as a surprise when Muhammad Azami Adabi doubled the lead in the 19th minute.

Dangerous Lee made it 3-0 in the 26th minute, and Azami then scored his second of the match and Malaysia’s fourth three minutes before the breather.

With the gold medal effectively in the bag, the Malaysians took their foot off the pedal in the second half but still dominated their opponents.

Ahmad Kazamirun Nasruddin hammered the final nail in Singapore’s coffin with a penalty stroke conversion seven minutes from the end to confirm Malaysia’s status as South-East Asian hockey kings.

“Despite not bringing our best players, we have delivered the gold medal as expected,” said Beng Hai.

“We did not face much difficulties overcoming our opponents in Myanmar. I am proud to lead the team, who won Malaysia’s 41st gold medal here and allowing us to surpass the target. I hope we can continue to dominate hockey in the region.”

Team captain Mohd Shahrun Nabil, who was featuring in his first SEA Games in Myanmar despite having earned close to 200 caps for Malaysia, was also ecstatic.

“Despite being the captain of the national team, I have never played in the SEA Games because it was always the juniors who were selected.

“This is the first time that I am leading the mixed squad of senior and junior players here. There were no communication problems on the pitch and everyone got on just fine. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience here,” said the 28-year-old Shahrun.

In the third place playoff, hosts Myanmar pulled off a stunner by upsetting Thailand 2-0 to win the bronze.

The men’s victory yesterday completed a double sweep in hockey for Malaysia after the women had defeated Thailand 6-1 in the final to bag the gold on Friday.

Tags / Keywords: SEA Games, Myanmar, Naypyitaw, hockey, Malaysia

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