MJWC: Zulkiffli Saves Malaysia From Heavier Defeat |
July 2, 2005
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Penalty corner specialist Zulkiffli Rejab slammed in four goals to save Malaysia from a heavier defeat as they went down 5-7 to Germany in the Eighth Junior World Cup Hockey at the Rotterdam Hockey Club Saturday.
The match took off with both sides looking equally strong. However, the Germans went ahead first, thanks to their better finishing and mistakes by the Malaysian defenders.
Christian Muenz opened accounts after just nine minutes through a field goal and made it 2-0 in the 20th minute via a counter-attack.
Malaysia struck back off a penalty corner in the 28th minute through Zulkiflli.
But the Germans pressed on and got their third goal through Moritz Fuerste off a penalty corner and they made it 4-1 with much help by Malaysian skipper Engku Malek Engku Mohamad, who gave the ball away to Fuerste.
The second half started with Malaysia looking doomed to a heavy loss when Oliver Korn took the Germans to a 5-1 lead in the 38th minute.
Germany's fifth goal finally jolted the Malaysians who dropped their defensive play to go on the attack.
The change in tactics brought quick rewards when Malaysia got their second and third goals via penalty corners which Zulkiffli flicked home in the 42nd and 45th minutes to narrow the gap to 5-3.
Germany grew wary after that and substituted goalkeeper Jacobi Nicolas with Timo Koellen between the posts.
That appeared to work as Malaysia were shut out again while the Germans moved up a gear to beat Malaysian goalkeeper Kairul Nizam Ibrahim through Tim Blasberg who found the top net in the 48th minute.
Malaysia still refused to lie down and continued pushing into the German half, and they were rewarded with a splendid pass from Mohamad Shahrun Nabil that Ismail Abu deflected into the top net two minutes later.
Malaysia's fifth goal was made by Zulkiffli also through a penalty corner in the 55th minute to make it 5-6 but Germany replied through Jonathan Froeschle three minutes later to increase the score to 7-5, and that was how the match ended.
Despite the defeat, Malaysia will move on to the second round, as group leaders Argentina beat South Africa 1-0 in another match to top the group, which paved the way for Malaysia to qualify as the third best team.
Malaysia won their first match against South Africa 4-1 on Wednesday and lost their second match in pool B to Argentina 0-1 on Thursday.
The second round matches will begin Sunday.
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