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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 -- Malaysia got off to a winning start after edging Chile 2-1 in their opening Group A match in the 2021 Men’s FIH Hockey Junior World Cup (JWC) in Bhubaneswar, India, today.
Although Malaysia dominated the first half, it was Chile who sounded an early warning. Fortunately, national goalkeeper Che Shahrul Azmi Che Saupi brilliantly saved a powerful hit from Agustin Amoroso off a penalty corner set piece in the sixth minute.
Coach Wallace Tan’s boys had the best chance to open accounts in the 26th minute but Chile goalkeeper Pedro Hernandez rose to the occasion to foil Muhammad Arif Shafie Ishak’s attempt.
After the breather, Malaysia launched a flurry of attacks and finally managed to break the deadlock when Muhammad Kamarulzaman Kamaruddin converted a well-worked penalty corner routine to go 1-0 up in the 34th minute.
Nine minutes later, Syarman Mat Tee doubled Malaysia’s lead off another beautifully-crafted penalty corner set piece.
Although Sebastien Wolansky scored off a penalty corner set piece a minute before the end, it proved to be too little, too late for Chile, who won 2021 Men’s Junior Pan American Championship.
Meanwhile, 2016 runners-up Belgium thrashed South Africa 5-1 in another Group A match earlier today.
Judging by that performance, Malaysia can surely expect an acid test on Friday (Nov 26) when they come up against Belgium before wrapping up their group fixtures against South Africa a day later.
Belgium (three points) lead Group A on goal difference from Malaysia (three points), followed by Chile and South Africa.
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