Malaysia bashes Poland 8-0 to emerge WHL Second Round champs

SINGAPORE: Malaysia emerged champions of the World Hockey League (WHL) Second Round after demolishing Poland 8-0 in the final at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium here Sunday night.

With the result, Malaysia have confirmed their spot in the semifinals of the WHL 2015, which will either be held in Argentina or Belgium.

Malaysia were in merciless mood and started scoring as early as the third minute when prolific striker Faizal Saari found the mark from a penalty corner.

Five minutes later team captain Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim did the same.

In the second quarter, there was more of the same with Muhammad Razie getting his second in the 21st minute.

Faizal Saari also made several attempts but his shots missed the mark.

However, he was not to be denied and in the third quarter also got his second goal in the 33rd minute.

The Malaysian team celebrating their victory after defeating Poland in the match 8-0 at Sengkang Hockey Stadium Sunday night. The nine-day tournament from Jan 17 involved eight countries including Japan, Bangladesh, Mexico, Oman, Ukraine and Singapore. - BERNAMApic

The support from the large crowd of home fans who had turned up was reciprocated when Malaysia added two more goals in succession, through Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor in the 42nd minute and Tengku Ahmad Tajudin Abdul Jalil in the 48th.

However, despite the six-goal margin Malaysia were no less hungry and youngster Muhammad Haziq Samsul also showed his capability when he notched the seventh in the 54 minute.

Muhammad Razie was the toast of the team when he rounded of the night with a hattrick with his third and Malaysia's final goal coming in right at the 60th minute.

At the prize giving ceremony, Faizal Saari took the stop scorer and best player prizes. He scored 12 goals in all in the tournament.

Malaysia, under coach Tai Beng Hai, whipped Mexico 10-1 in the quarter-final and won 3-2 via a penalty shootout against Japan after being tied 1-1 at full time in the semi-final.

Poland crushed Singapore 8-0 in the quarter-final and beat Oman 7-1 in the semi-final yesterday.

Malaysia are currently ranked 12th in the world while Poland under Jerzy Joskowiak are ranked 18th.

Japan who took the third place after defeating Oman 4-0 also qualified for the semi-finals.

The four goals by Japan were contributed by Kenta Tanaka in the 36th minute, Kazuma Murata (41'), Hirotaka Zendana (50’) and Kenji Kitazato (57’).

The top three finishers qualify for the semis.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Beng Hai said the result was due to the high commitment shown by the players.

"Our fine run in this championship is due to the players. They were fully committed and played very well.

"We made tactical changes which they adapted very well and applied on the field (in the final)," he said, adding that he was more than satisfied with Malaysia's showing in the tournament.

Malaysia had lost 3-4 to Poland in a friendly back home before the WHL Second Round.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Razie said he had expected a keen fight with Poland and did not expect to win by such a big margin.

"It could be the close shave we had against Japan in the semis jolted us to put our best foot forward," he said.