Hockey Junior World Cup: Malaysia secure quarterfinal berth

New Delhi, Dec 8: Malaysia edged past South Africa 2-1 to top Pool D and secure a Hockey Junior World Cup quarterfinal berth at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here Sunday.

Later in the evening, New Zealand managed to draw their tie against England 2-2 to share a point each.

Both Malaysia and South Africa started cautiously, not wanting to risk falling behind but things started to heat up after 10 minutes when South Africa bobbled their first penalty corner. Matthew Brown made no mistake and slotted the ball high out of reach of Hafizuddin Othman in the Malaysian goal.

The Asians reacted immediately and besieged the South African circle, calling keeper Rene de la Peyre into action left and right. He stood his ground but his own defender deflected a free hit which went in (27th minute).

Malaysia had multiple chances to take the lead but were kept afloat by de la Peyre and halftime was reached on 1-1.

Malaysia took the lead in the 43th minute when Firhan Ashari turned around at the top of the circle to score the winning goal.

The play was fast and South Africa threatened Malaysia, earning a penalty corner which was upgraded to a penalty stroke. But Brown’s attempt was well guessed by the keeper and Malaysia maintained the lead.

South Africa pushed desperately for the equaliser but Malaysia did not break down and played well to protect their three points to stand at the top of Pool D with a total of six.

The second quarterfinal group spot is still up for grabs and will be decided after Monday’s matches – England vs Malaysia and South Africa vs New Zealand.

Pool D results: Malaysia beat South Africa 2-1, England draw New Zealand 2-2.

IANS