By Sports Reporter/Doha
Hosts Qatar made it through to the semi-finals of the men’s Indoor Asia Cup Hockey tournament yesterday, courtesy a late goal by Anwar Mohamed from a penalty corner against Malaysia.
The 5-4 win helped Maggid Abu-Talib’s men leapfrog Malaysia in the Pool A standings to take second spot behind Iran.
Qatar registered first on the scoreboard with Sheraz Ali scoring past Malaysian goalkeeper Khairul Kamaruzaman in the 6th minute. The lead doubled with Savio Stevenson scoring off a penalty corner in the 15th minute.
Norsyafiq Sumantri pulled one back for Malaysia, before Mohamed Sami Ullah ensured that the home team went into the break with a 3-1 lead.
The second half saw the Malaysians starting off with a renewed vigour, equalising within the first six minutes courtesy goals by Shafiq Yaacob and Amirol Arshad.
A minute later, Mustafa Mohamed restored the lead off a field goal.
Najib Hasan put Malaysia on an even keel in the 34th minute and status quo would have meant that the Malaysians would have gone through to the last-four stage.
However, Anwar Mohamed’s shot past Kamaruzaman in the 38th minute meant that Qatar are at least assured of matching their fourth place finish in the last edition of the tournament in 2015 in Kazakhstan.
Qatar will play Pool B topper Kazakhstan in the second semi-final today, with their previous encounter ending in a win for the latter in 2015.
In the penultimate men’s match, Iran stayed unbeaten with a 10-3 victory over Oman with Hamid Noraniyan scoring a hat-trick to go top of the goalscorers’ list with nine goals.
Iranian captain Behdad Beiranvand, too, scored a first-half hat-trick to take his tally to eight goals.
Mohsen Bohlouli scored a brace in the Iranian victory.
Iran will take on Uzbekistan for a spot in the final. The last time the two teams had met, which was in the 2015 Indoor Asia Cup, Iran had handed a 16-3 thumping to the Uzbeks in a round robin match.
Uzbekistan beat Chinese Taipei 7-2 in the match yesterday for a spot in the last four, while second half braces by captain Daulet Urmanov and Nurzhan Beibitov were crucial in Kazakhstan’s 8-6 win over Thailand.
Malaysia will face Chinese Taipei, and Thailand will take on Oman to decide places five to eight.
In the women’s section, two-time second runners-up Uzbekistan slumped to a shock defeat with North Korea picking up their first three points in the tournament with a 9-2 win.
North Korea, who had lost their first match of the day 3-5 against Malaysia, were powered by hat-tricks by Ri Ryu Gyong and Ryang Il Sim.
Gyong scored four, while Sim added three goals.
China were once again clueless as Thailand pumped 18 goals past former’s hapless defence, with Tikhamporn Sakunpithak and Thanaporn Tongkham scoring five goals each.
Captain Chantree Ladawon, Kanya Jantapet and Pichavee Yoolai scored a brace each in the massive win that helped Thailand move top of the standings with nine points. Thailand face third-placed Malaysia in their only match today.
Defending champions Kazakhstan too have nine points and have a game in hand. They will play Malaysia and Uzbekistan today.
There’s everything to play for today as the top two teams, who will play the final tomorrow, are yet to be decided.
Only the winner of the tournament will progress to the Indoor World Cup in Germany next year.
Chinese Taipei 2 Uzbekistan 7
Kazakhstan 8 Thailand 6
Iran 10 Oman 3
North Korea 3 Malaysia 5
China 0 Thailand 18
Uzbekistan 2 North Korea 9
12:30 Malaysia vs Chinese Taipei (5th-8th place)
14:00 Thailand vs Oman (5th-8th place)
18:00 Iran vs Uzbekistan (semi-final 1)
19:30 Kazakhstan vs Qatar (semi-final 2)
10:00 Malaysia vs Kazakhstan
11:15 China vs North Korea
15:30 Kazakhstan vs Uzbekistan
16:45 Thailand vs Malaysia
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