Hockey: England undone in Malaysia

Malaysia 2 England 1
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The Independent Online

England's hopes of reaching the World Cup semi-finals were badly dented in Kuala Lumpur last night when, in an electrifying atmosphere, they were beaten by Malaysia. Their destiny has effectively now been taken out of their own hands.

England realised what they were up against as soon as the Malaysian team appeared in the 17,000 all-seater Bukit Jalil stadium, built for the Commonwealth Games in 1998. The near-capacity crowd gave the host side a vociferous welcome and kept up the cacophony all during the knocking-up period. The handful of expatriates and the loyal group of travelling supporters were drowned out in the cauldron of noise. England had experienced a little of this when they beat India 3-2 on Friday evening, but this was very special.

England went behind in the ninth minute. Shanmuganathan Kuhan's penalty-corner shot lifted off Jimi Lewis's pads and Jon Wyatt was penalised for illegally sweeping the ball away in a questionable decision by the German umpire. Maninderjit Singh fired past Lewis from the penalty spot.

Disaster struck again for England when, with just five minutes of the second half gone, a poor trap by Andy Humphrey gave Malaysia another penalty corner from which Madzlikmar Nor scored, the ball appearing to take a deflection past Lewis.

England forced Malaysia on to the defensive but it was not until the 64th minute that they secured a breakthrough, David Mathews finally passing goalkeeper Roslan Jama-luddin at England's fourth penalty corner. England strove hard right up to the final whistle without being able to get the equaliser, losing to Malaysia for the first time since 1985.

Following his team's 3-2 defeat by England on Friday, India's coach, Cedric D'Souza, was asked to stand down. He immediately returned to India.

England: J Lewis; B Garrard, J Wyatt, T Bertram, C Parnham (capt); J Goudie, M Johnson, J Wallis; B Sharpe, D Hall, M Pearn. Substitutes used: G Fordham, B Waugh, D Mathews, M Jones, A Humphrey, R Todd.

Malaysia: R Jamaluddin; M Nor, S Shankar, M Sidhu, H Chua; J Mohan, S Kuhan, K Kali; C Aba Aziz, M Nawawi, R Mohamed. Substitutes used: K Gobinathan, N Bakar,M Radzi, K Raj, S Rahman & M Ramli.

Umpires: R Wolter (Germany), P Elders (Holland).