FIH Men’s Series Finals: Host Malaysia makes a dream start, Italy shocks China
The hosts Malaysia could not have asked for more. A fourth quarter blitzkrieg not only helped the home team to score four goals and take the final tally to 6-0 against Brazil but also gave it maximum three points in the eight-nation FIH Men’s Series Finals on Friday. On a day that witnessed interruptions due to rain and rough weather, both low ranked Italy and wales sprang surprises.
Italy, the lowest ranked team in the tournament defeated China 2-1 while Wales surprised Canada 3-1. Austria beat Belarus 5-0 in the remaining games of the opening day.
The last game that featured the hosts Malaysia had its ups and downs. While the South Americans need to be complemented for keeping the first half scoreless against more experienced Malaysians, the home team had the consolation of scoring the biggest win of the day with goals coming from both penalty corners and field efforts.
Norsafiq Sumantri set the scoring in motion in the 32nd minute before Najmi Jazlan doubled the lead five minutes later.
It was in the fourth and the final quarter that saw Malaysians going on a scoring spree against a tiring South American team on a sultry day.
Fitri Saari (penalty corner 48th minute) set scoring in motion. He was followed by Hasan Azuan (53rd minute), Abu Kamal Azrai (54th minute) and Razir Rahim (penalty corner, 56th minute).
It was the biggest win of the day after Austria made a flying start with a 5-0 win over Belarus.
The game of the day, however, was between the lowest ranked team of the tournament, Italy ranked 32nd, and China, ranked 14th, just a slot below the hosts Malaysia.
Julian Muntone (9th minute) and Augustin Nunez (49th minute) were the scorers for Italy while China responded through Yuan Lin Tu in the 29th minute.