SOJC2018: Malaysia blow up lead for draw against NZ

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The goals were flowing freely and even led by 3-1 and 4-2 margins but in the end, it was a painful 5-5 for Malaysia against New Zealand in their Sultan of Johor Cup hockey match at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Bahru on Tuesday.

Malaysia and New Zealand were looking for their first win in the eighth edition of the Under-21 Invitational annual tournament which features in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) tournament.

The first quarter was a delight for the Malaysians with four goals through Muhamed Mohamed (seventh), Shello Silverius (ninth), Adam Mamat (10th) and Muhamad Abu Kamal (12th).

In between New Zealand hit a brace through Reuben Andrews in the 11th and 15th minutes.

The Kiwis further reduced the deficit in the 30th minute through Sam Hiha. It was 4-4 by the 48th minute when Andrews completed his hattrick with a direct drag flick.

Malaysia regained the lead through Muhamed in the 57th minute but a minute later the Kiwis were on equal footing with Sam Hiha getting his name into the scoresheet for a 5-5 draw.

“Our defense was poor but we exploited New Zealand’s weaknesses early to score. However, we could not sustain the pressure, which comes with experience,” said Malaysia coach Nor Saiful Zaini.

Malaysia lost to India (1-2) and Australia (1-6) while New Zealand lost 2-3 to Britain and 1-7 to India in their first two matches in the weeklong tournament.

In other matches, India registered their third win in as many matches with a 1-0 victory over Japan while Britain battled to a 2-2 draw against Australia after being 0-2 down. RIZAL ABDULLAH

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