Saturday, 29 October 2016

Malaysia loses to Pakistan in a Penalty Shootout in the Asian Champions Trophy Semi Finals.

Malaysia lose to Pakistan in penalty shootout

KUANTAN: Malaysia’s gallant run in the Asian Champions Trophy has come to an end.

And it came at the hands of defending champions Pakistan in the semi-final at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

Coach Stephen van Huizen’s men fell 3-2 in a penalty shootout after both teams were tied at 1-1 in regulation time.

Mohd Shahril Saabah put Malaysia ahead in the 18th minute before Abdul Khan equalised for Pakistan in the 34th minute.

In the shootout, Malaysia scored through Mohd Firhan Azhari and Faizal Saari while Faiz Helmi, Shahril and Fitri Saari missed theirs.

Abdul Khan, Mohamed Rizwan Senior and Mohamed Irfan Junior netted for Pakistan, who will face India in Sunday’s final.

India also needed a shootout to overcome South Korea. The teams were level at 2-2 in regulation time and India prevailed 5-4 in the lottery shootout.

India were winners in 2011 while Pakistan won in 2012 and 2013.

Malaysia, who finished third in all three editions, will face South Korea in the third-placing match.

National coach Stephen admitted that his men were below par.

“It wasn’t a good performance ... we did not do well as in previous matches,” he said.

“But we have a bigger target – the World League second round next year. The players must learn from this experience.”

The biggest surprise in the Malaysian line-up was the inclusion of Faizal Saari, who started the match despite arriving from Ipoh just hours before the match.

He had travelled to Ipoh to visit his wife, who had given birth to their first child – a boy.

In the earlier semi-final, it was India who took the lead in the 15th minute through Talwinder Singh.

South Korea then hit back to go 2-1 up with goals by Seo In-woo (21st) and Yang Ji-hun (53rd pen).

India levelled the score through Sardar Singh (55th) to take the game into a shootout.

“It’s always tough at the semi-final stage,” said India’s midfielder Sardar.

“We played well and had ample opportunities to get more goals.

“Luckily, we prevailed in the shootout. We’re looking forward to a good final.”

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