x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Silver lining for Emiratis in Under 18 Challenge Cup of Asia

The UAE got four goals from Hazza Al Saedi to close the ice hockey tournament with a victory against Malaysia.

ABU DHABI // Hazza Al Saedi scored four times as the UAE emerged 8-3 winners over Malaysia to finish runner-up in the inaugural IIHF Under 18 Challenge Cup of Asia.

With Thailand already declared the winner of the four-team league, the UAE and Malaysia were left to fight for second place in last night's final match of the six-day championship at the Abu Dhabi Ice Rink.

Matti Fagerstrom, the UAE coach, said it was a satisfying result for the UAE, considering they had been playing hockey for less than a year.

It also came on the back of the senior team winning the Challenge Cup of Asia in India last month.

"We can take a lot of positives from this championship," Fagerstrom said. "It was a good experience for the players and now it is a matter of continuing with the work."

Malaysia got off to a fine start when they scored first, Nurul Versluis finding the net with a long-range flick in the fourth minute.

The UAE took more than 10 minutes to score the equaliser. Mohammed Al Mansoori struck first and Al Saedi scored a minute later for the host team to establish a 2-1 lead in the first period.

Khalifa Al Mahrouqi set the tone in the second period with a superb goal.

The Emirati forward skated from the middle before finishing off with a spectacular flick to extern the lead to 3-1.

Hamad Al Dhaheri and Al Saedi made it 5-1 before Malaysia pulled one back from a breakaway move from Mohammed Fadzul Rafiq.

Al Saedi then completed the hat trick on the hoot for the UAE to go into the third and final period with a 6-2 lead. Versluis scored in the very first minute on resumption to revive Malaysia's hopes of a fightback but that was quickly laid to rest when Al Saedi scored his fourth in the match and Mohammed Al Dhaheri rounding off by getting his name in the scoresheet.

Thailand's three-match winning streak was ended by Hong Kong in an 8-0 thrashing but the game was unofficial as the latter team had been already disqualified for fielding ineligible players.

 

apassela@thenational.ae

 

 

 

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