Germany reached the quarter-final of the ongoing Men’s Hockey World Cup after defeating Malaysia 5-3 in their last Pool D match here at the Kalinga Stadium on Sunday.
With Germany sitting on top of the Pool D and Malaysia yet to register a win in the ongoing tournament, the contest seemed a bit one-sided but 2018 Asian Games silver medallist Malaysia showed their credentials on the field and gave some tough time to their opponents.
However, it was the German side which got off to a cracking start with a goal in the second minute of the match. They made a fabulous move to penetrate into the circle of Malaysia. German forward player Timm Herzbruch beautifully trapped the ball and scooped it into the roof of the net to score the first goal of the match.
The match moved forward with German players missing a couple of scoring opportunities here and there. In the 11th minute, Malaysia earn their first penalty corner but missed the chance completely as dragflicker Razie Rahim took a shot which was too wide to make its way into the goal post.
Lack of alertness cost the Malaysian defenders dearly as Germany got another penalty corner which was perfectly executed by Christopher Ruh to make it 2-0 in their favour by the end of the first quarter.
In the initial minutes of the second quarter, Malaysia was down to ten players on the field as Azuan Hasan was shown the yellow card for his rough tackle on Christopher Ruhr of Germany. The advantage of the same went to the leading side as they increased their lead to 3-0 when forward player Dan Nguyen made his way through to the Malaysian circle and finds no one to mark him and smashes it into the far post.
It seemed like a lost battle for Malaysia but the team made a smashing comeback with two back to back goals in the 26th and 28th minute of the match. At the end of the second half, it was 2-3 in favour of Germany.
With Germany still in lead and Malaysia pumped up with two back to back goals, the second half was crucial for both the teams. Not to anyone’s surprise, Malaysia made the first move in the third quarter. But it was the two-time World Cup champion Germany who scored the first goal of the second half. Niklas Wellen unleashed a reverse hit towards the far post which could have missed the target, but Marco Miltkau showed superb reflexes by deflecting it into the net. Germany now lead Malaysia 4-2.
After a couple of minutes, Malaysia found their way back into the game when Razie Rahim scored a goal off a penalty corner to narrow the goal gap between the two teams. The final quarter of the match saw Germany not holding their sticks back despite being in a lead. In the penultimate minute of the match, German players displayed excellent coordination to help Timm Herzbruch score fifth goal for the team.
With the final hooter, the scoreline read 5-3 in Germany’s favour. Germany, who finished on top of the Pool D, are the fourth team to qualify for the quarters round of the ongoing prestigious tournament. The second and third positions in the Pool D will be decided by the last Group stage match of the tournament which will be held between Netherlands and Pakistan.