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Great Britain: GB Men Secure Comprehensive 4-1 Against Malaysia In FIH Olympic Qualifiers

Great Britain Men’s Hockey Team registered a comprehensive 4-1 win over Malaysia in their second Group A match in Oman on Tuesday.

Sam Ward (32′, 58′) bagged a brace, while Will Calnan (19′) and Zach Wallace (39′) scored a goal each to help GB climb to the top spot of Group A and almost secure their semi-finals spot at the FIH Olympic Qualifiers.

Meanwhile, Shahril Saabah (26′) was the lone goalscorer for Malaysia.

Malaysia started the match on the front foot and earned their first penalty corner in just the second minute of the match. However, GB Goalie Ollie Payne made a comfortable save to deny Malaysia from taking an early lead.

GB gradually took control of the ball with their high press and mounted pressure on the Malaysian defence with a series of circle entries, but couldn’t find an opening. They went on to earn their first penalty corner of the match, but Bandurak’s powerful high drag-flick was denied by the Malaysian goalkeeper.

GB continued making forays inside their opponent’s circle, but the Malaysian defence kept them at bay, ending the opening quarter at 0-0.

Rupert Shipperly earned GB their second penalty corner in the very first minute of the second quarter but missed out on converting it.

Relentless in their pursuit, GB were rewarded for their efforts as Calnan broke the deadlock in the 19th minute. He slotted the ball home off a rebound during the penalty corner routine, making it 1-0 for GB.

GB made attacking runs and created various goalscoring opportunities, but the Malaysian defence survived the danger. In return, when Nick Park received a green card, Malaysia seized the opportunity against the 10-men GB side and equalised through Shahril’s drag-flick during a penalty corner routine in the 26th minute.

Malaysia seemed to gain a boost with the equalizer as they not only made threatening moves but also kept GB away from the goal, ending the first half on level terms.

However, GB regained their lead in the 32nd minute courtesy of Ward’s classic drag-flick during the penalty corner routine. Their attempt at a third goal came close in the subsequent minute, but the Malaysian goalie thwarted GB’s efforts with a double save during yet another penalty corner.

GB’s relentless pressure on the Malaysian defence finally paid off when Wallace’s field goal in the 39th minute secured a two-goal cushion for his team. 

Malaysia, on the other hand, made a couple of circle entries, but GB’s defence kept them at bay to end the third quarter with a comfortable 3-1 lead.

The beginning of the final quarter witnessed intense back-and-forth play. As Malaysia sought their second goal, GB continued their attempts to extend the lead. In the 54th minute, Ward and Bandurak both took shots at the target, but the Malaysian goalkeeper stood firm, preventing them from scoring.

In the 57th minute, GB earned their 10th penalty corner, only for the Malaysian goalkeeper to make a comfortable save. Ward added the fourth goal to GB’s tally just a minute later, this time from an open play, and eventually securing the 4-1 win.

GB Men will take on China in their last Group A match on January 18, 2024, at 14:30 UK Time, watch live on BBC Sport and red button.

by Great Britain Hockey

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