Hockey Junior World Cup: Kiwis join Malaysia in quarterfinals

New Delhi, Dec 9: Despite having already qualified for the quarterfinals, Malaysia played hard and handed England a 4-2 loss to register their third consecutive Pool D win while New Zealand edged past South Africa 1-0 to also secure a last eight berth at the Hockey Junior World Cup here Monday.

Malaysia with nine points from three wins and the Kiwis with four points entered the next stage of the tournament ahead of South Africa (three points) and England, who lost all three group matches at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

England were in a must win situation but the Malaysians were faster off the blocks, peppering Harry Gibson in the English goal and earning a couple of penalty corners. They scored on their third attempt by Mohammed Bin Hashim in the 15th minute.

They extended the gap in the 26th minute by Firhan Ashari but England immediately pulled one back by Luke Taylor with a well-executed penalty corner going into the break.

England could not capitalise on a penalty corner early in second period and were immediately punished when Muhammad Bin Baharom scored with Malaysia leading 3-1. England kept trying but were consistently denied by Hazrul Sobri, in dazzling form in the Malaysian goal.

Fitri Saari scored in 57th minute with a stunning backhand and there was no coming back for England despite a late goal by Phil Roper and replacing their goalkeeper with an additional field player for a desperate final rush.

Later South Africa was in the driving seat at the beginning of the last Pool D match, needing only to avoid losing to advance to the quarterfinals.

The Black Sticks were, however, decided to try but nearly suffered a setback when Damian Kimfley missed an incredible opportunity to give the lead to South Africa.

There was plenty of action in the period but neither team had anything to show on the scoreboard for their efforts and the break was reached on a scoreless tie.

Kane Russell gave the advantage to New Zealand in the 44th minute with a high drag flick on a penalty corner and the onus was suddenly on South Africa to score. They came agonisingly close on another penalty corner that rolled in front of the line before going marginally wide.

New Zealand hung on to their one goal lead to jump into second place of the group and qualify for the next stage.

IANS