Germany, the 2012 Sultan of Johor Cup champions, had to use all their knowledge to defeat Great Britain 4-3 at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.
Before the match started, Germany and Australia each collected four points but Germany came out on top because of the goal advantage. Great Britain is third with three points while South Africa are bottom with no points following their two defeats.
Following this victory, Germany collected seven points.
Great Britain started scoring in the 4th minute of the game. Rory Penrose made a knee-level flick directly to the German goalkeeper, Onyekwue Nnaji Joshua who managed to save the ball. Jonny Sturch Hibbitt who was in front of the goal managed to grab the ball that bounced and went on to fire in to give the three-time champions a 1-0 lead.
The action then moved to Germany who are the number two team in the world. They took a 2-1 lead through penalty corners by Jakob Brilla and Paul Glander, in the 20th and 33rd minutes respectively. It was Glander’s second goal in this tournament.
Germany had four penalty corners while Great Britain also had the same amount after the third quarter ended. German player Florian Sperling was named Player of the Year.
Great Britain acted aggressively to attack in the fourth quarter causing problems for Germany. This time Tom Moorhouse scored the second goal in the 50th minute to make it 2-2.
But the full action of the drama did not stop there. Germany’s Michel Struthoff’s strike (52nd minute) made it 3-2 and moments later, Henry Markham finished Great Britain’s penalty corner to make it 3-3.
The drama came to an abrupt halt when Florian Sperling made a field goal with just four minutes remaining to make it 4-3.
Malaysia put up a tough fight before losing 2-3 to Pakistan in the last action of Group B, the Under-21 Hockey Championship (B21) of the Sultan of Johor Cup (SOJC) 2023 at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium.
In the ongoing action, the National Youth Squad first trailed 0-3 in the first half before coming back to narrow the position in the second half through two goals.
Pakistan first opened the scoring through Abuzar in the 13th minute as a result of a field goal.
Entering the second quarter, it was the turn of Ahmad Arbaz and Muhammad Khan to double the score for Pakistan in the 21st minute and the 24th minute after completing a penalty corner.
As if receiving a new injection of enthusiasm, the Young Tigers Squad displayed an extraordinary revival in the second half which was started by Shahmie Irfan Suhaimi through the finish of a penalty corner in the 47th minute.
The goal injected the spirit of the National Youth Team to continue to put pressure on the Pakistani defense and as a result Shafiq Ikhmal Daniel managed to make his mark as a scorer with a field goal four minutes later.
When the game was left with nine minutes to go, Malaysia’s desire to at least collect a point was not achieved when Pakistan stubbornly defended their one-goal advantage despite being pushed hard by the national youth team.
The result saw Malaysia lose in three consecutive matches starting at the hands of New Zealand 2-3 and India 1-3 for the 2023 Sultan of Johor Cup group stage action.
Malaysia will now face Great Britain for the 5th to 8th classification stage.
Meanwhile, the manager of the National Youth Squad, Muhamad Amin Rahim still praised the action displayed by his men despite losing for the third time in a row.
“We started a bit slow today for the first half, we gave the Pakistan team a lot of space and gave away penalty corners, which we know they have strength in that aspect.
“He (Pakistan) has finished well. So this cannot happen in an international match. I hope the players learned something from today’s action especially to start well.
“The player’s mindset (way of thinking) has to be right to come into the match. After the end of the first half after leaving the dressing room we have identified a strategy to play more pressing.
“The pattern showed results by putting pressure on Pakistan and we managed to score two goals but it was not successful to at least get a point.
“But it was a good process and a useful lesson for the players ahead of our preparations for the Youth World Cup later,” he said.
In another Group B action, India beat New Zealand 6-2 to become the group champion while Pakistan advanced as runner-up.
For Group A, Australia emerged as the group champion while Germany emerged as the runner-up.