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Monday November 19, 2012
By S. RAMAGURU
JOHOR BARU: What started out as a boast to retain the title ended in utter humiliation for the national junior hockey side.
Malaysia, the defending champions of the Sultan Johor Cup, finished last when they lost the fifth-sixth placing match to New Zealand via a golden goal at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium yesterday.
The match was tied 1-1 after regulation time but Kiwi forward Kane Russel settled the issue with a 72nd minute strike.
And again, Malaysia have only themselves to blame as they dominated the game but failed to make full use of their chances. They even earned nine penalty corners but only converted one.
It was a disappointing end to what had promised to be a great tournament for the defending champions after they had beaten five times world junior champions Germany 3-2 in the opening match.
The Malaysians went into the match against the Kiwis in search of the opening goal and had five penalty corners in the first half but failed to make any headway.
The match was then stopped for 25 minutes due to rain. It resumed from the 28th minute and Malaysia continued to dominate but spurned the numerous chances that came their way and the first half ended goal-less.
Malaysia finally took the lead in the 48th minute as Mohd Noor Faeez Ibrahim played the ball wide of the left post for a diving Shazril Irwan Nazli to score.
But that sprung the Kiwis into action and they drew level in the 58th minute through Jared Panchia.
The game then went into extra time and, against the run of play, New Zealand struck through Russel to improve their position from last year when they ended rock bottom.
That indignity went to the Malaysians this time – from champions to duds.
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