Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Malaysia bounced back strongly to pull off a thrilling 3-2 victory over Chile in a Pool C match of the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 at the Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela on Monday. 

With this fighting win, the Asian side’s hope of progressing into the knockout round has been revived.

While Chile dominated the opening two quarters of the match, Malaysia got their rhythm back in the second half.  Chile opened their account through Juan Amoroso’s powerful penalty corner in the 20th minute. Malaysia got the equalizer through Razie Rahim’s successful penalty stroke six minutes later.

However, Chile doubled the lead in the 29th minute when Martin Rodriguez struck a brilliant field goal through a reverse hit.

Subsequently, Malaysia switched gears and put huge pressure on the lower ranked opponents.  Ashran Hamsani scored the equalizer in the 41st minute by smashing a pass from the right side into the bar. They surged ahead with the momentum and got a penalty corner after just one minute. Sumantri Norsyafiq pounced on a deflection to convert it into a goal.

Chile tried to make amends during the end part of the game. However, Malaysia survived a couple of scares to register the fighting win.

Dutch drub Kiwis

In another Pool C match, a formidable Netherlands thrashed New Zealand 4-0 at the Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela on Monday.

The match was completely a lop-sided affair as Netherlands dominated proceedings throughout the match. While skipper Brinkman Thierry (2nd and 12th minute) scored a brace, Bijen Koen (19th minute) and Hoedemakers Tjep (54th minute) struck a goal each for the winning side.

Netherlands and New Zealand earned two and one penalty corners respectively. However, they failed to capitalize on those opportunities.