KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 – The Malaysian veteran men’s 50s team are disappointed after being held to a 2-2 draw by Singapore in the World Masters Hockey (WMH) Asian Championships 2023 at the Hong Kong Football Club on Wednesday.
It was the second time the team played to a draw following Tuesday’s 2-2 result against Hong Kong. The men’ 50s side on Monday went down to a 1-2 defeat against Switzerland SoM (Spirit of Masters).
Unlike their 40s and 60s counterparts who have qualified for Sunday’s finals, the result is a blow to the 50s team who led 2-1 against Singapore, and now face the arduous task of qualifying for the final.
With two points in the bag from three matches – seven adrift of table leader Switzerland SoM and five points behind Hong Kong, only divine intervention can change their fortunes.
The Malaysians next play basement side South Korea on Friday and conclude the group stage matches against Japan on Saturday.
The Singaporeans took the lead in the 24th minute via Chin Hock Tan’s penalty corner conversion.
Louis Gregory, however, restored parity for the Malaysians in the 42nd minute in similar fashion, and Zulpakar Mohamad extended the lead to 2-1 via a field goal in the 64th minute.
The Singaporeans earned a penalty corner with seconds left from the hooter and P. Jeya was spot on for the equalizer.
“It was unfortunate for the 50s side who played well in the tournament to remain at the bottom half of the table standings,” said Tournament Director for Malaysia Datuk Seri Surinder Singh Dhaliwal.
“They have two more matches on hand and must win both. At best they may have a chance of playing in the playoff for the bronze medal”.
In other men’ 50s matches played on Wednesday, Hong Kong outclassed South Korea 5-0 and Switzerland SoM defeated Japan 5-0 .
Meanwhile, Malaysian team Chef de Mission Dato’ Majid Manjit Abdullah, who is also Deputy President of Sultan Ahmad Shah Malaysian Veteran Hockey Association, is delighted to see the men’s 40s and 60s teams advance to the final.
“I am delighted with the progress of our team. Although the men’s 50s team played well, they were unlucky not to win their matches. But there is still hope, though slim, of the team finishing among the top four in the standings,” added Dato’ Manjit, who is also Johor Hockey President, and Vice-President of the Asian Hockey Federation.
The 40s team will play Hong Kong SoM on Friday, and Hong Kong the following day to wrap-up their round robin fixtures. Although matches against Spirit of Masters teams do not earn points, a win over Hong Kong SoM will certainly boost the Malaysians’ confidence level ahead of the vital clash against Hong Kong.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong men’s 40s side triumphed 11-0 over Bangladesh and Hong Kong SoM drew 3-3 with Singapore. Hong Kong tops the standings with nine points after three matches and Malaysia (6 points) in second spot.
In the men’s 60s event, Sarjit Singh’s side will play Australia’s Southern Cross SoM on Thursday, a match which the Malaysians hold the advantage.
The Malaysians lead the standings on six points, and Australians second (6 points). Japan and Hong Kong are without any points after two matches.