* Faizal Saari is the tournament’s best player and top scorer

Malaysia blasted Poland 8-0 to win the World League Second Round at the Sengkang Stadium in Singapore on Sunday and qualify for the World League semi-finals to be held in Belgium or Argentina in June.

Poland were expected to give Malaysia a “tough time” after a 4-4 draw and 4-3 in the two friendly matches in Kuala Lumpur before both teams proceeded to Singapore for the Second Round. Instead, Malaysia put all that behind and the lucky 3-2 win on penalties against Japan in the sem-finals on Saturday for another whopping win.

It was triple joy for Malaysia’s Faizal Saari, often labelled as a “problem boy” of Malaysian hockey. Faizal not only ended as the tournament’s top scorer with 12 goals, including a brace against Poland, but was also named as the “Player of the Tournament”.

For coach Tai Beng Hai, it was another feather in his cap after leading Malaysia to the SEA Games gold medal in Myanmar in 2013. However, Beng Hai’s fate hangs in the balance as the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) is hell bent on getting a foreign coach to plot hockey fortunes.

Putting that aside, Malaysia, Poland and Japan, who clinched third place with a 4-0 win over Oman in the playoff, will advance to the next stage of the World League.

Skipper Razie Abdul Rahim was Malaysia’s Captain Marvel with a hattrick – hitting target in the seventh, 21st and 59th miniutes after Faizal opened the floodgates with a third minute goal. Faizal got his second in the 22nd minutes.

Malaysia’s other scorers were Nabil Fiqri Noor (42nd), Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (48th) and Haziq Samsul.

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