ANTWERP: Out-hustled and out-muscled, Malaysia’s hopes of gaining a point in their final Group B match went up in smoke.
In a fight to determine a higher position in the group came undone for the Malaysians who lost 1-3 to Britain at the World Hockey League Semi-Finals at the KHC Dragons Stadium on Sunday.
The Malaysians started off well but crumbled in the last two quarters under Britain’s unrelenting barrage to end up third in the group with six points, ahead of Ireland (4 points), who lost to group champions Belgium 2-1.
Malaysia’s points came through wins over China (3-2) and Ireland (4-2).
Malaysia will now meet India in the quarter-finals on Wednesday. The other quarter-final matches are Australia v Ireland; Pakistan v Britain and France v Belgium.
Against Britain, Malaysia grabbed the lead against the run of play in the 14th minute. Mohamed Haziq Shamsul scored with a rising reverse-stick shot past goalkeeper George Pinner.
Undaunted, Britain upped the tempo and equalised in the 31st minute right after halftime from their first penalty corner. Goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin managed to save Barry Middleton’s shot, but David Condon was fastest to the rebound to slot the ball home.
The British were coming fast and furious. In the 38th minute, Roslan saved a sure goal on the line to keep the Malaysians in the game.
But in the 49th minute, Malaysia were in trouble again after conceding their second penalty corner. There was nothing Roslan could do to stop Ashley Jackson’s direct flick.
One minute later, Britain went 3-1 up. Sam Ward was on target with a field goal.
From then onwards, it was Britain all the way as Malaysia failed to get a single shot at goal in the last quarter.
Understandably, team manager Stephen van Huizen was disappointed.
“We did not play well especially in the third and fourth quarters. There were some areas where we were not good and we conceded the goals when skipper Razie Rahim was yellow carded,” said Stephen.
“Now it is a waiting game on whom we meet in the last eight. But we have to be ready. It could be India or even Australia,” he added.
Britain coach Bobby Crutchley was pleased as punch after ending their group stage without a defeat.
“It was a tough match. But I am pleased with the way we came back in the last quarter. Now we can look forward to the next match with confidence.”