KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia kept alive their quest to finish ninth in the Junior World Cup after downing Egypt 4-1 in the ninth-16th classification match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.
The win sees Malaysia advance to the 9th-12th classification playoff on Wednesday.
They will face Belgium, who trounced Canada 12-0 earlier today.
Malaysia began their match in stunning fashion, going ahead after just eight minutes through a field goal by Harris Iskandar Osman before skipper Faris Harizan doubled their lead with a penalty corner goal in the 16th minute.
In the second half, the Young Tigers continued to press Egypt and managed to make it 3-0 through Danish Aiman Khairil Anuar in the 44th minute.
They made it 4-0 six minutes later with another penalty corner goal, this time through Che Nur Aqirullah Che Khairuzi, but complacency in the last few minutes allowed Egypt’s Basel Abdelmonem to score a field goal in the 59th minute.
Commenting on the game, national coach Amin Rahim said he was far from satisfied with his team’s performance and slated them for playing with a laidback attitude.
He said they could have scored more had they played with more conviction, pointing to the fact that his charges only managed three goals from penalty corners despite being awarded 16 in total.
“I am happy with the win, but not all the players performed well, they took the game lightly. Overall, we made many mistakes, both in defence and in attack.
“We must work on correcting these mistakes because we will be up against a strong Belgian side. The players know it won’t be an easy outing,” he told the post-match press conference.
Malaysia finished third in Group A after beating Chile 7-1 before losing 4-0 to Argentina and 5-2 to Australia.
Belgium, meanwhile, came in third in Group D after defeating New Zealand 4-0 before going down 5-3 to the Netherlands and drawing 1-1 with Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Belgium recorded the biggest win of this JWC with a 12-0 goal-fest against Canada, surpassing the 10-0 win Germany notched against Egypt during a Group B match on Friday.
Max Luyten and Hugo Labouchere stole the show with four goals each.
Luyten bagged four field goals in the second, fourth, 10th and 56th minutes while Labouchere scored three from penalty corners (34th, 35th and 52nd minutes) and one from a penalty flick in the 42nd minute.
Their other goals came courtesy of a hattrick of penalty corner goals by Lucas Balthazar (20th, 38th and 58th minutes) and a Thomas Crols field goal in the 53rd minute.
Belgium head coach Jeroen Baart attributed the big win to his players taking out their disappointment at missing out on the quarterfinals on Canada.
“We were very disappointed after the Pakistan match because I think we should always play in the quarterfinals. On a good day, we can challenge for medals … We had a free day yesterday, so we enjoyed some Malaysian culture, went to the famous temple (Batu Caves), saw different things and ate outside the hotel to just keep our mind focused for today.
“I am very proud of my team for the way they rebounded today, though we had more quality than our opponents (Canada). We also scored some very nice team goals, (and) worked hard for each other. We are looking forward to the next match, though facing the hosts in front of the home crowd is not going to be easy,” he said.