New Zealand will now face Malaysia in the quarter final
Korea remain unbeaten after the pool stage while Canada suffered their first defeat when losing 4-3 to Malaysia at the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. A 3-2 win over France was enough for Korea to win pool B as Canada lost their match later tonight. The quarter finals now see New Zealand facing Malaysia, Korea playing Japan, Ireland taking on France with Canada clashing with Poland.
Korea v France 3-2 (2-0)
Korea walked away with a narrow 3-2 win over France in today’s first match of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. Korea are on seven points now but their final pool placing will depend on the result of Canada’s match against Malaysia later tonight.
The match started with a slow first quarter as the hot weather conditions in Kuantan obviously challenged both teams. Until today, neither team had experienced playing in the 15:00 match. France created two promising scoring opportunities within the first 17.5 minutes but Lucas Sevestre’s penalty corner flick went wide and Jean-Laurent Kieffer missed from a close range.
The second quarter burst into life with the umpires awarding an early penalty stroke to France. However, the stroke was poorly taken by Valentin Migneau (22’) making it easy for the Korean goalie Lee Myung Ho to save the ball. Just a couple of minutes later Korea’s You Hyo Sik was tackled in the French circle which resulted in a penalty stroke for Korea. Nam Hyun took responsibility and converted without problems to give Korea the lead.
France failed to strike back after four Koreans, including goalkeeper Lee (green), had been sent off with penalty cards for various reasons within two minutes. Despite having more men on the pitch, the Tricolores were unable to score. However, it was Korea who doubled their lead against the run of play when Jang Jong Hyun (35’) converted his team’s second penalty corner.
The Tricolores eventually struck back in the third quarter thanks to a field goal from Tom Genestet (43’). However, Korea extended their lead to 3-1 when Kim Seong Kyu (56’) scored from open play. Then Kieffer (63’) managed to deflect the ball into the net to get France on the scoreboard again. France worked hard to get back into the match but the equalizer did not come.
Canada v Malaysia 3-4 (2-2)
Malaysia achieved their first win in this tournament by defeating Canada 4-3. However, they remain bottom of pool B due to goal difference. “If we had scored one more goal we would have avoided playing New Zealand in the quarter finals”, said Malaysia’s coach Muhammad Dhaarma Raj. “Today we played so much better than in our two previous matches.”
The match started at high pace with Canada being quick to force a penalty corner. The penalty corner resulted in a penalty stroke which was duly converted by team captain Scott Tupper (4’). However, Malaysia bounced back immediately when Ahmad Jalil (5’) fired the ball home. The host nation took the lead midway through the first half when Muhammad Saabah’s (19’) attempt found its way into the net. Canada equalized just before halftime through Gabriel Ho-Garcia (30’).
The second half was also an entertaining affair with both sides having several opportunities to score. Another penalty corner goal from Muhammad Saabah (40’) brought Malaysia up 3-2 before Tupper (54’) converted another penalty stroke to level the score. The stroke had come off a penalty corner. Again, the hosts responded directly with another goal from Jalil (55’) much to the delight of the enthusiastic crowd in the Stadium Wisma Belia. Canada fought hard to equalize but couldn’t break through the Malaysian defense.
“We give full credit to Malaysia, they were too good today”, said Canada’s coach Anthony Farry. “They needed to win and this is what they did.”Back