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England thrash Malaysia to book place in final

England v Malaysia SAS 2018
England 7 (3)
Gleghorne (PC, 10; PS, 48), Willars (FG, 11), Middleton (FG, 15; FG, 31), Ward (FG, 38; PC, 41)

Malaysia 2 (0)
Tengku (PC, 50), Marhan (FG, 52)

England sealed a spot in the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with a devastating victory over hosts Malaysia.

Barry Middleton stole the show with two stunning efforts, while Sam Ward and Mark Gleghorne also found the back of the net twice as England controlled the game from start to finish, with Ollie Willars also scoring.

Tengku Tajuddin and Marhan Jalil reduced the arrears in the final quarter but it was merely a consolation, only taking the smallest of shines off what was a great occasion for Harry Martin to celebrate his 100th England appearance.

The result means England will play Australia on Saturday 10 March in what promises to be a cracking scrap for the gold.

With both teams needing victory to qualify for the final, England began firmly on the front foot as Ward forced 'keeper Hafizuddin Othman into action in the fifth minute.

George Pinner then pulled off a stunning save – flinging himself high to his right – to keep out Malaysian captain Razie Rahim’s penalty corner before Liam Ansell lifted an effort over the bar after nine minutes.

The game was not going to remain goalless for long and Gleghorne opened the scoring in the tenth minute, rifling a penalty corner into the top left corner before Willars smashed in a second less than sixty seconds later after being given oodles of time to pick his spot.

David Condon had the ball in the net shortly after – although it was off his body and therefore disallowed – before Middleton unleashed a reverse stick screamer from the top of the circle on the quarter hour mark.

England had plenty more chances in the second quarter but could not convert their lead, Chris Griffiths coming close twice, while Harry Gibson also produced a smart save with his feet in the 23rd minute.

It then took just 58 seconds in the second half for Middleton to find the net once again, beautifully turning James Gall’s inch perfect cross above Othman for his second and England’s fourth. 

Brendan Creed took one for the team to block Firhan Ashari’s effort before Ward came into his own, sliding an effort past Othman in the 38th minute before smashing home a penalty corner three minutes later, with a cheeky reverse stick attempt in between going just wide.

Gleghorne then dispatched a penalty stroke with consummate ease in the 48th minute before Malaysia hit back twice in three minutes, Tengku deflecting Razie’s corner past Gleghorne before Marhan added another.

The final will be played at 1230 on Saturday 10 March live on the BBC Sport website.

England Starting XI: Pinner (GK), Martin, Griffiths, Sloan, Ward, Gleghorne, Roper (C), Dixon, Middleton, Creed, Sanford

Subs: Gibson (GK), Willars, Goodfield, Ansell, Condon, Gall
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