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Hockey World Cup: Malaysia beat Japan, France overcome Chile in playoff matches

Rourkela, Jan 28 (IANS) Malaysia prevailed over Japan 3-2 in a contest between two Asian teams and France defeated Chile 4-2 in playoff matches for the 13th to 16th places in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium, here on Saturday.¬†

Malaysia started the day’s proceedings when they took on Asian Games gold medallist Japan in a closely-fought contest, capitalising on a brace of goals by Shello Silverius. The two teams were tied 1-1 at half-time after Japan’s Kaito Tanaka neutralised Silverius’ opening goal off a penalty corner in the 7th minute.

Malaysia scored twice in the third quarter while Japan could manage only one, thus falling narrowly short in their pursuit of winning the match and finishing 14th.

Silverius again gave Malaysia the lead in the 31st minute but Japan levelled the score again within seconds to make it 2-2 when Seren Tanaka scored a field goal.

But two minutes later, Suhaimi Shahmie scored another goal to make it 3-2 for Malaysia. And that’s how the score stayed in the end. Japan created a lot of pressure towards the end of the third quarter but were thwarted by the Malaysian defense. They earned five penalty corners in this period but could not convert any of them.

Malaysia also received two cards — green for Rosli Ramadan in the 52nd minute and a yellow card for Najmi Jazian in the 58th but Japan could not capitalise on the man advantage.

In the second match of the day, France got the better of Chile 4-2 with their top-scorer Victor Charlet scoring a brace of goals via penalty corners.

France took the early lead when Eliot Curty¬†scored a field goal in the 13th minute. Carlet then scored twice within a minute, converting two penalty corners to make it 3-0 for France in the 17th minute. Though Franco Becerra scored off Chile’s first penalty corner of the match in the 20th minute, France led 3-1 at half-time. Xavier Gaspard made it 4-2 in the 4th minute as the French defended stoutly to win the match.

France capitalised on their chances while Chile failed to apply enough pressure. The South Americans were also troubled by disciplinary cards. They got two green and one yellow card in the second half of the match. France bagged four penalty corners of which they capitalised on two.

–IANS

bsk/ak

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