Heartbreak for SA U21 as even battle shaded by Malaysians

Bhubaneswar 2021 – Heartbreak for SA U21 as even battle shaded by Malaysians

As the group stage of action for South Africa and Malayisa came to its end at the 2021 FIH Junior World Cup of Hockey in Bhubaneswar, the two countries locked horns knowing they both needed a result to progress in the tournament. For South Africa it was a win needed, while Malaysia would secure their place in the top 8 with a draw.

With so much on the line the two nations produced what could simply be described as a classic that had goals, cards, opportunities, saves and some great tension. Malaysia had their lead erased 3 times in course of the game but ultimately shaded the game with a 56th minute strike. The 4-3 win meant Malaysia qualified for the quarter final for the fifth time in their history and South Africa will now play off for a best finish of 9th.

After a tense opening half, Malaysia managed the only goal of the first period with a penalty corner hit low and hard by Khalid in the 29th minute. It was probably a fair reflection of the first half as Malaysia had looked the most likely to score. But the African side came out with wonderful intent in the second half and pulled level when captain Guy Morgan fired home the penalty corner.

Malaysia re-established the lead from a well worked penalty corner variation through Kamaruddin that gave keeper Taine Bird little chance. But once again South Africa bounced back with a wonderful goal from Jared Campbell, the vice-captain, who finished with a wonderful instinctive shot.

Shamsul re-established the lead for Malaysia when a triple save was not cleared and eventually fired home. With South Africa needing a victory they surged forward and Jared Campbell levelled again when he reacted quickest to finish into an empty net.

As South Africa poured forward looking for the goal that would secure a first ever Junior World Cup victory over Malaysia as well as a first spot in the Quarter Finals ever, they left them self open at the back and the Malaysians capitalized to score the game winning goal.

It was an enthralling game of hockey that presented enough opportunities for the Africans, but they will now play off in the 9-16 Bracket with a first playoff game against Canada who finished bottom of Pool D.    The game takes place on the 30 November and will be live on the Watch Hockey App.

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SA 3-4 Malaysia

Source: SAHockey.co.za