Malaysia demonstrated their dominance with a resounding 6-2 victory over Korea at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium in Chennai today. While the scoreline might suggest a one-sided match, the reality was quite the opposite. The determination exhibited by both teams to establish control set the stage for an intense contest right from the beginning. The game kicked off with an exhilarating pace as both sides engaged in a relentless exchange. Every moment was a battle, every opportunity a potential turning point, as both teams relentlessly pursued even the smallest sliver of space on the field.
In the second minute, Korea made their breakthrough when Cheoleon Park's precise poke towards the goal, originating from close range, fortuitously deflected off a Malaysian player. The deflection set the ball up perfectly for Woo Cheon Ji, who seized the opportunity and executed a mid-air jab to skillfully guide the ball past Hafizuddin Othman, leaving the Malaysian goalkeeper with no chance to react.
Malaysia swiftly responded as Abu Kamal Azrai embarked on a dynamic run into the circle, taking advantage of the unchecked space created by several Korean defenders. Seizing the opportunity, Azrai confidently unleashed a powerful tomahawk shot, resonating with precision as the ball found the back of the net in the third minute.
In the ninth minute, Najmi Jazlan electrified the field by launching a potent slap shot into the net, securing Malaysia's second goal. Adding an extra layer of irony to the situation, Korea's decision to use their referral in an attempt to reverse the goal served as the proverbial cherry on top, highlighting the strategic misstep in their efforts to challenge the score.
Just as the Malaysia believed they had gained the upper hand in the initial exchanges, Jonghyun Jang swiftly shifted the tide in favor of his team. Displaying his prowess, he delivered a stunning drag flick that found its mark into the goal post, precisely in the dying seconds of the quarter. Jang's impeccable execution kept his side afloat and injected renewed energy into the match.
In the 19th minute of the second quarter, it was Farhan Ashari who earned Malaysia a crucial short corner opportunity. Faizal Saari expertly capitalized on the chance, converting it into a goal with a powerful drag. Just two minutes later, Malaysia further extended their lead. Ashran Hamsani's swift and determined advance into the circle was abruptly impeded through an illicit block, resulting in Malaysia being awarded their second corner of the match. Displaying sheer determination, Najmi Jazlan charged full throttle at the flick, propelling the ball into the net's upper reaches and causing the roof of the net to bulge in response. This sequence of events showcased Malaysia's ability to seize opportunities and capitalize on them effectively.
During the third quarter, Malaysia's smooth progress into the Korean circle encountered a stumbling block. The cohesive maneuvers that had been executed with precision until that juncture suddenly lost their harmony, becoming disjointed due to the intrusion of errors.
Then, in the 43rd minute, an opportunity arose for Korea to inject new energy into the contest through a penalty stroke. However, Hafizuddin Othman stood firm, refusing to yield. With determination, he swiftly slid to his left, expertly denying Jihun Yang's attempt to alter the course of the match. Othman once more emerged as Malaysia's savior, thwarting Jonghyun Jang's potent penalty corner strike in the 45th minute through a skillful parry, showcasing his unwavering commitment between the posts.
The decisive blows came from the twin strikes of Shello Silverius in the early moments of the final quarter. In the 47th minute, Ashran Hamsami orchestrated a solo incursion from the left flank, crafting an opportunity for a straightforward finish that Silverius executed with finesse. Barely a minute later, the spotlight shifted to Najib Hasan, who orchestrated another setup for Silverius, this time from the right side of the circle. These crucial contributions showcased Silverius' prowess and his teammates' adeptness in providing the necessary support to seal their victory.
In a riveting showdown that had fans on the edge of their seats, Malaysia emerged victorious against Korea, securing its spot in the final. The hero of the match was none other than Malaysia's standout player, No. 21 OTHMAN Hafizuddin, whose exceptional performance contributed significantly to his team's triumph. The young player of the match, No. 23 AZRAI Abu Kamal, also hailing from Malaysia, displayed remarkable skills that showcased the promising future of the sport. With this well-earned victory, Malaysia confidently advances to the final, leaving Korea to battle for the Bronze.