JOHOR BARU: Malaysia did all the attacking but it was Australia who walked away with a 2-1 win in their Sultan of Johor Cup hockey match at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here yesterday.
A goal in each half – by William Shaw (21st minute penalty) and Josh Waters (62nd) – was enough to earn the Aussies full points in this six-nation junior meet.
Malaysia, who only found the mark in the 70th minute through Zulhairi Mohd Hashim, will have to improve their finishing as well as penalty corner conversions if they intend to win the title.
The Malaysians take on New Zealand today knowing that only a win will keep them in sight of a top-two finish.
Malaysia went on the attack from the first whistle against Australia but Mohd Ramadhan had couple of early chances which he sent wide.
But the game turned to Australia’s favour when they earned their first penalty corner in the 21st minute.
A high flick towards goal hit Zulhairi Mohd Hashim’s body, earning the Aussies a penalty stroke.
Shaw stepped up and flicked the ball past goalkeeper Mohd Hafizuddin Othman for the opening goal.
That goal sparked the Australians into action and they began to call the shot, earning three more penalty corners in the first-half.
Malaysia began the second half the way they started the first – in attack mode – and dominated the proceedings, only to find Australian goalkeeper Johan Durst in inspired form.
The hosts even had three penalty corners but all came to nought.
Then, in the 62nd minute – and against the run of play – the Australians snatched a second goal though Waters off a quick counter attack.
Undaunted, Malaysia fought on and it was only in the last-minute that they managed to break the duck, thanks to a penalty corner goal by Zulhairi.
Dharmaraj was happy with his boys’ performance, although he felt they should have at least earned a draw judging by the numerous chances created.
“We just couldn’t put away the chances. It was a good learning experience for the boys. The Australians played hard but we had better chances. Now we need to regroup and try to beat New Zealand,” he said.