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Sunday, October 20, 2013
Revington's side find form at key time
Malaysia saved their best match of the International Super Series for last in defeating Pakistan for bronze, 2-1. The Malaysian men went to school on their preliminary round defeats and were never headed in a tight tussle after getting their noses ahead.
The ball went pinging from one end to the other as Malaysia and Pakistan hustled up and down the Perth Hockey Stadium pitch. The teams have grasped the defensive systems required in Hockey 9s to add another dimension to the play the longer the week has gone.
Multiple efforts were required to force the ball, by hook or by crook, into the back of the net, the desperation of playing for bronze on show for all to see.
In an even first half it was Malaysia who broke through when Azlan Misron muscled his way through a congested goal circle in the 17th minute.
And they put themselves in the box seat for bronze when they scored next, six minutes into the second half. Zig zagging sharply with clean passing, the movement was polished off by Izwan Firdaus, who went head-first into the goals with the touch for two-nil.
The Green Shirts edged within one on 29 minutes using the 4 v 2 field advantage afforded with the Hockey 9s penalty corners. Muhammad Arslan Qadir brought the ball into play before getting it back and sweeping it home past the stretched defence.
Pakistan were denied in three consecutive set-pieces during the busy last minutes, Malaysian custodian Roslan Jamaluddin jabbing out to the left with a reflex shot-stopper.
The Malaysians were delighted with the result and coach Paul Revington could see the result coming, after a tough week.
“With the group that we have got here, obviously we hoped for more wins from game one to game four.
“There had to be a level of improvement and while we’re improving we still wanted to win games and I think today we put certain ingredients together and that resulted in our win.”
Revington felt the Hockey 9s format provided important benefits for the growth of the Malaysian side.
“There is more space versus an 11-a-side game which means you need to organise more, you need to run more and you need to work more as a group.
“Those ingredients with what we’re trying to do for Malaysian hockey and building the size of the squad, the tournament has been very good for us.”