KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia qualified for the Hockey World League (HWL) quarterfinals after scoring their second consecutive victory by beating Ireland 4-2 in a Group B match in Antwerp, Belgium today.
With the second victory, Malaysia collected six points after earning their first three points by beating China 3-2 on Sunday.
Today’s match was also a milestone for national player Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil who was playing his 200th senior international match.
In action at the KHC Dragons Stadium today, world number 14 Ireland gave Malaysia, ranked 12th, a hard time in the early stages, including pulling level after Malaysia had taken an early lead through Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin’s 13th minute penalty corner strike.
Peter Caruth levelled the score a minute later.
Seasoned campaigner Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim restored the lead three minutes later but Shane O’Donoghue again put Ireland on level terms (2-2) on the stroke of half time.
Malaysia dominated the third quarter and took a deserved lead when Perak-born Mohamad Sukri Abdul Mutalib slammed a penalty corner in the 59th minute.
Five minutes before the final whistle Izwan Firdaus made it 4-2 after scoring his second goal of the night to ensure all three points.
Malaysia is scheduled to face host Belgium tomorrow and Great Britain on Sunday.
Malaysia need to finish in the top three of the overall competition to qualify for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil. – BERNAMA