IKF AOKC Day Five – remaining WC places filled
Day Five of IKF AOKC was the first day of cross finals, with qualification sealed for the two remaining 2015 World Championship places.
In the first game Indonesia met Korea to start the process of ranking the teams at the lower end of the tournament. Indonesia appeared to be struggling with the intensity of the week so far, and offered less energy than in previous games. Korea on the other hand showed what it had learnt during the tournament and put on its most convincing display, scoring regularly and breaking the will of the Indonesian players early on. Young Joon Kim scored six of his team’s 20 goals. Indonesia only managed three in response.
Game Two delivered the closest contest for the past three days. Macau went to an early lead, scoring the first five goals, then Japan managed a strong comeback with Yu Furuki the principal scoring threat and the margin was just 8-7 at halftime. Penalties featured heavily in the scoring with referee Ivan Lee quick to punish transgressions on both sides. Each team did miss two penalties, however. Although Japan was level after 30 minutes, in the next ten Macau pulled away again to finish just ahead at the final whistle: 16-14.
Next up New Zealand met China with a place in the final four, and therefore a berth in the World Championships at stake. At the start both teams were tense and scoring was even at two each, then after excellent defensive containment by New Zealand, on ten minutes China captain Liang Shuaishuai hit a shot clock buzzer beater from the back of the court that commenced a spree of nine unanswered goals by his team in the next ten minutes to effectively take the game away from the Kiwis, whose failure to find the korf has really hurt them this week. In the end, China’s victory was straightforward, 23-7, and they can book their tickets to Belgium next year, while New Zealand will have to fight for fifth place over the next two days.
Hong Kong versus Malaysia would decide the remaining World Championship qualifier. Scoring in the first half was extremely slow, with the hosts appearing too nervous at the prospect of making the top four to find their rhythm. It took eight minutes for the first goal to go in, and by halftime it was only 4-3. Malaysia’s two big guys, Randy Ho Kang Lip and Guang-xin Yong, dominated the rebound to keep their less-experienced team well in contention. In the second half progress on the scoreboard improved as Wyinga Ip, in particular, started to find some scoring form for the hometown team. In the final ten minutes Hong Kong gained the ascendancy over tenacious Malaysia to prevail by 18-9, which took them through to the World Championship, and failed to reflect the fight that they had on their hands to come through this game.