The Koreans came back from the brink of defeat; trailing 1-3 with only four minutes remaining to strike two quick goals from Sim Jae Won and Yoo Han Young to hold the hosts to a nightmarish 3-3 draw in regulation time.
This miraculous escape means the Koreans not only became the third team here to qualify for the 2016 Junior World Cup following the shadows of Japan and India but also advanced to Saturday’s semi-finals of the Junior Asia Cup against either Pakistan or China.
For the Malaysians, the heart-breaking defeat in front of 4,000 fans was simply disastrous after failing to earn a ticket to the Junior World Cup for the second time following similar failure in 1997 in the Singapore qualifiers.
“Personally I consider this defeat and our failure to reach the Junior World Cup as disastrous,” said Malaysian Head Coach Arul Selvaraj. “A lot of things went wrong in the last five minutes. I believe the players snapped when Korea scored the second goal to trail 2-3 and lost focus.”
Korean team manager, Yoo Moon Ki, commended his players for the great fight back and said: “I had decided before the match that if we lose I will not return to Korea for some time. But now I am glad we turned the tables on Malaysia in this highly explosive match.”
Shahril Saabah had given hosts the lead with a sixth minute penalty corner goal and the Malaysians went ahead 2-0 through Sufi Ismat Rohulamin (31st). It was only in the last 10 minutes that the match turned into a gripping affair with Korea pulling one goal back through Kim Sung Yeob (61st) while Haziq Muhammad Samsul extend the lead to 3-1 with a 63rd minute field goal. But Korea did the impossible by scoring two late goals to force a 3-3 draw and penalty shootout.
SHOTA TAKES JAPAN TO JUNIOR WORLD CUP
Japan celebrated a 3-0 win over Bangladesh in the quarterfinals of the 8th Men’s Junior Asia Cup at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium.
The Japanese are now through to next year’s Junior World Cup for the third time since 1997 by virtue of qualifying for Saturday’s semi-finals against India. Only the top four teams here qualify for the New Delhi Junior World Cup.
“My players were extremely bothered by the heat and made a slow start against Bangladesh. Honestly, we suffered in finding the first goal,” said Japanese Head Coach, Takahiko Yamabori. “Now we are very excited and happy to have reached the semi-finals and World Cup.”
“But sadly Japan will be without nine players, including team captain Hiromasa Ochiai, from the current squad for the 2016 Junior World Cup as all of these players will be ineligible to compete due to age limit. The Junior World Cup is an Under-21 tournament,” said Takahiko.
Backed by motley fans numbering around 50, the Japanese and Bangladeshis got off to a gruelling start with both sides struggling to find their footing until Hiromasa netted the first goal 21 minutes into the match from open play.
That goal lifted the Japanese but certainly did not demoralise the Bangladeshis who mounted counter attacks through Milon Hossain and Roman Sarkar, earning three penalty corners but goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa was simply in his element to thwart all of them.
Japan returned in the second half looking far more dangerous and manipulative, keeping the game well under wraps. A brace from Shota Yamada (68th and 69th minutes) was enough to take Japan to the 2016 Junior World Cup and they truly deserve it.
INDIA BLAST NINE GOALS PAST OMAN
India went on a goal spree against minnows Oman, winning 9-0 to advance to the semi-finals of the 8th Men’s Junior Asia Cup at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium today.
As hosts of the 2016 Junior World Cup in New Delhi, the Indians are automatic qualifiers despite making great inroads into the semi-finals stage here unscathed and were thoroughly dominant against the Omanis under clear skies and sweltering afternoon heat.
India now goes into a head on collision with Japan in the semi-finals on Saturday. The Japanese went through to the last four with a 3-0 win over Bangladesh. The top four teams in the 8th Men’s Junior Asia Cup qualify for next year’s Junior World Cup.
Harmanpreet Singh opened the flood gates for India with a seventh minute penalty stroke goal and added the third in the 12th minute via a penalty corner after Armaan Qureshi made it 2-0 two minutes earlier. Goals from Gurjant Singh (18th, FG), Santa Singh (22nd, PC) and Mandeep Singh (30th, FG) gave India a comfortable 6-0 lead at the interval.
“We played well though there were glimpses of Oman making some good moves. I am very satisfied with the performance of my players,” said India Head Coach, Harendra Singh.
Oman, who were dead serious in making an impact in Kuantan after camping in Germany and Netherlands for a month and coached by former German Olympian Oliver Michael Kurtz, struggled to get past a fortified Indian defence despite making short forays into the semi-circle.
The second half belonged to India as they blasted three more goals field goals from Harjeet Singh (45th), Harmanpreet Singh scoring his hat-trick (50th) and Umar Mohammed in the 54th minute.
PAKISTAN BRING DOWN CHINA WALL
Pakistan booked the fourth and final ticket to the 2016 Junior World Cup with a 4-1 demolition of China in the quarterfinals of the 8th Men’s Junior Asia Cup at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium.
The Pakistanis will go into Saturday’s semi-finals encounter with Korea who had earlier shattered the hearts of 4,000 local fans by carving a 4-1 penalty shootout victory after holding the hosts to a 3-3 draw.
China, who finished at the bottom of Group B after the preliminary round, were a rejuvenated side today as they took the cue by scoring the opening goal in the 17th minute through Meng Lei but Pakistan clawed back with goals from Mubashar Ali (26th) and Shan Irshad (27th) to take a 2-1 lead at the interval.
Three-time champions Pakistan produced their majestic brand of hockey in the second half and clipped China’s wings with brilliant field goals from Shan Irshad again (44th) and Mohammed Dilber three minutes before the final whistle.