Ahad, 21 Jun 2009

Malaysia In 12th Spot

JOHOR BAHARU, June 20 It was a disappointing end to Malaysia's Junior World Cup hockey campaign.

They needed to beat Belgium to finish 11th, but they couldn't do it at the Taman Daya Hockey stadium today and had to be content with the 12th spot after the 2-3 loss.

And it was all because of a poor first-half performance which saw Malaysia trailing by two goals, and then the deficit got bigger in the opening minutes of the second period.

It was too huge a gap for Malaysia to catch up with and even though they hit back with two goals, it was a case of too little, too late.

"I must admit that I am disappointed at how we played, especially in the first half, and to finish 12th is also another disappointment," said Malaysian coach K. Rajan.

Belgium, who were denied a place in the last eight on a mere one-goal difference, stormed into the lead through Felix Denayer in the 26th minute, and then, Simon Gougnard made it 2-0, just at the stroke of half-time.

Malaysia, in between, did nothing to trouble the Belgians and the absence of their suspended top striker Faisal Shaari did not help the team's cause, either.

Then came Belgium's third goal in the 39th minute from Amaury Keusters, and Malaysia were left fighting a lost cause.

Izwan Firdaus Tajuddin pulled one back for Malaysia in the 43rd minute but it was never going to be enough and a last-minute goal from N. Ramanathan only made the scoreline more respectable.

"Consistency, or rather the lack of it, was our biggest problem throughout the tournament. At this level, you need to be able to give your best in every match to stay in contention. Sadly, we could not do it," said Rajan.

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