Malaysia grabbed Southeast Asian (SEA) Games men’s hockey gold in a thrilling shoot-out on Saturday after hosts Singapore forced penalties with a last-gasp equaliser.
Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman was the hero with a confidently taken decisive penalty as Malaysia won the shoot-out 4-3, after the scores finished 2-2 in regulation time.
Singapore’s Sengkang Stadium crowd was packed for the game between the neighbours and arch sporting rivals, with some fans lining the perimeter fence.
But there was to be no fairytale finish for Singapore against the regional hockey giants, even after they clawed back from 2-0 down to force the shoot-out.
“The team dealt brilliantly with the pressure,” Malaysia coach Arul Anthoni told AFP.
“I had four or five of the younger players who were shivering earlier because of feeling the atmosphere.
“Fair play to Singapore for coming back hard and fighting… Definitely the crowd makes a bloody big part of it.”
Malaysia, who fielded a weakened junior team, dominated from the start and went ahead in the 14th minute with a well-executed penalty corner by Aminudin Mohd Zain.
They doubled their lead early in the second half with another set-piece by Azwar Abdul Rahman.
But Singapore’s Hafiz Abdul scored a field goal in the 51st minute, before Enrico Marican raised the roof with his 69th-minute equaliser following a goalmouth melee.
Singapore coach Solomon Casoojee said his side “made a fair fist of it”.
“We gave a good contest to Malaysia who quality-wise are a better side than us,” he told reporters.
“They (Singapore) showed a lot of composure, a lot of guts and stuck with it and didn’t let the pressure of the home crowd get to them.” – Agence France-Presse