Malaysia recovered from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Russia 6-2 in their second match at the Olympic Qualifiers in Dublin today.
It was a case of paying too much respect to the opponents as Malaysia caved in the opening 20 minutes ofbthe match but showed tremendous fighting spirit in a match where they scored four goals from the six penalty corners awarded.
And Mohd Amin Rahim scored a hattrick in a win that was crucial to ensure Malaysia stay on course for a ticket to London 2012.
Malaysia opted for high press in the opening minutes of the match and had the Russian defence back pedalling and thinking of ways to get out of the situation.
But Russia had the first look at goal though in the 10th minute as Aleksander Platonov broke through on the left and unleashed a shot that went inches wide of Roslan Jamaluddin’s far post.
Malaysia were not playing half as well as they did inntheir opening match withTengkuAhmad Tajuddin and Izwan Firdaus looking off colour.
And it was a shaky performance by the defenders when Russia applied the pressure, using their upper body strength to put off the Malaysian defenders.
Just when Malaysia were getting into gear, the Russians struck but what a beauty of a goal it was as Pavel Golubev ghosted past three defenders on the right before sending in a reverse stick hit that sailed high into the goal givingb Roslan no chance at all.
And it was more heartache for Malaysia as Golubrev struck again two minutes later after being put through and slamming it in from 7 meters out.
Malaysia then forced a penalty corner in the 26th minute but Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim’s shoat was parried away by Russian custodian Roman Rogov.
However Mohd Amin Rahim reduced the deficit to 2-1 when he found the mark off Malaysian second penalty corner in the 28th minute.
At halftime the Russians were ahead 2-1 but Malaysia looked hopeful, still optimistic of winning.
All it took was two minutes into the second half for Malaysia to draw level as Amin converted a penalty corner in the 37th minute.
Malaysia then seized the initiative as Russia were pressed deep in defence and were duly rewarded for their efforts in the 45th minute through Faisal Saari, also via a penalty corner.
Moving with confidence, Malaysiathen extended their lead in the52nd minute, this time Razie converting a penalty corner.
Two minutes later Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin was felled in the semi circle and umpire Gary Simmonds from South Africa awarded a penalty stroke that Amin duly converted to complete his hattrick and extend Malaysia’s lead to 5-2.
Hafifihafiz Hanafi scored in the 65th minute to complete a rousing fightback for Malaysia who will take on Ukraine next on Tuesday.