Hockey: The Olympic wait continues for Malaysia

By S. Ramaguru in London

Great Britain put paid to Malaysian hopes of making their first Olympics since Sydney 2000 with a comprehensive 9-3 aggregate win in the two leg Olympic Qualifiers at Lee Valley Stadium in London.

After winning the first match 4-1 on Saturday, Great Britain went on a scoring spree in the second match, winning 5-2.

Great Britain sealed their place at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as Alan Forsyth scored a hat-trick with Sam Ward contributing two as GB’s men join their women’s team on the plane to Japan.

“ It is a disappointing result. But the boys played a good game today. The problem is they did not start well and conceded two early goals, “ said Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans.

“ We conceded goals in the last stages as we had to attack and fight back and in the process conceded goals as defensively we were not good enough.”

“ We need to talk about being consistent. They might be happy with being 11 in the world but I am not happy as we need to play big tournaments.”

When asked on his future with the team, Oltmans had this to say;

“ The contract is there and I will be working as usual.”

As early as the 2nd minute saw a defence-splitting pass from Great Britain’s Phil Roper sends Alan Forsyth through on goal, but the ace striker loses control at the vital moment and the opportunity is gone.

Forsyth currently sits on 99 combined international goals for Scotland and GB – his 100th seemed a formality there, but he’ll had to wait a little longer before reaching that milestone.

It’s wass virtually all GB in theearly stages, but Forsyth’s early chance remains the only clear-cut scoring opportunity in this contest.

Forsyth brought up his century of international goals with a well taken penalty stroke, sending veteran Malaysia goalkeeper S. Kumar the wrong way to find the bottom left corner. GB extend their aggregate advantage to 5-1, in the 9th minute and Malaysia’s task becomes even more difficult.

And two minutes later Sam Ward scored with a wonderful finish.

Receiving the ball on the right near the baseline, Ward indicated he is going to pass but then opts for the shot, finding the space between the goalkeeper and his post to put the hosts in complete control.

But the Malaysians hit back to reduce the deficit to 2-1 in the 24th minute .

Following a long spell of possession for Great Britain, Malaysia won their first penalty corner .

Shahril Saabah’s drag-flick was only half cleared by GB keeper Pinner, with Fitri Saari firing the rebound into the net to give Malaysia a life-line.

They still had a huge amount to do, but that goal will certainly provided a welcome boost the the visitors.

The goal came moments after GB were reduced to ten players, with David Ames receiving a Green card two minute suspension.

A minute after the second half began, Britain struck for the third time.

Sam Ward scored his second goal of the game, slamming a low penalty corner drag-flick into the bottom right corner. GB took the aggregate score to 7-2.

Malaysia once again reduced the deficit to within one goal in this match. Razie Rahim unleashed a ferocious penalty corner drag-flick just inside the left post to make it 3-2 in the 40th minute.

Great Britain’s aggregate lead wS reduced to 7-3.

But the fight back was snuffed in the 56th minute as Great Britain added a fourth.

Alan Forsyth popped up at the right post to score Great Britain’s fourth goal, establishing a n 8-3 aggregate lead.

GB were going to Tokyo.

And they had time to add to the score.

A hat-trick for Alan Forsyth!

Malaysia’s Razie Rahim conceded a penalty stroke for a push in the back of a Great Britain attacker from a penalty corner situation, with Forsyth stepping up to the place to score from the spot.

The aggregate score was now 9-3 and the Malaysian wait for Olympics continued.

Skipper Shukri Mutalib paid tribute to his players.

“ They gave their best out there but it was still not good enough,” said Shukri

“ We had some decisions that I feel were doubtful , especially the second penalty stroke.

“ Personally I will continue to play for the country until I am told my services are no longer needed.”