Singapore floor Malaysia after slow, nervous start

Singapore floor Malaysia after slow, nervous start
Singapore floorball captain Glendon Phua in a tussle with Malaysia’s Mohammad Nazrin on the first day of the World University Floorball Championships (WUFC) at the OCBC Arena on 18 June 2014. Singapore overwhelming their Malaysian counterparts 18-0 in the men’s division.

SINGAPORE - Singapore got off to a winning start on the first day of the World University Floorball Championships (WUFC) at the OCBC Arena yesterday, overwhelming their Malaysian counterparts 18-0 in the men's division.

Despite being the favourites, Singapore got off to a nervous start and looked vulnerable against the Malaysian counter-attacks.

The team ended the first period with a solitary goal courtesy of captain Glendon Phua, who scored with an instinctive shot after a loose ball fell to him.

The slow start continued into the second period, even though Singapore doubled their lead through forward Brandon Cheong in the third minute.

But the floodgates opened after 10 minutes into the second period, when the team blitzed seven goals in a five- minute window, and the form carried on to the rest of the match.

Coach R. Saravanan noted that his charges were "very nervous", pointing out that it was a first international game for most of the players, and had the pressure of a 700-strong crowd looking on.

Phua, who contributed three goals and two assists, said: "Crowd support can spur the team on but if players are unable to handle it, they might get nervous and it prevents them from playing their proper game."

The 24-year-old added: "We gained more confidence after the first period and we knew (the breakthrough) was coming, as from what was done in training, we know our style works."

However, the forward acknowledged there was room for improvement, pointing out the slow start as a sticking point.

Having lost 2-21 to Russia earlier in the day, Malaysia captain Chiam Ter Min remained upbeat. He said: "We wanted to give it a go today but it was difficult because we played against two top teams."

The Singapore team are aiming to top their group which includes Russia, China and South Korea but Saravanan is not looking too far for now.

He said: "We want to keep up the momentum in the way we play, and take it one step at a time in winning."

The five-day WUFC is the first event at the OCBC Arena and Saravanan said there were "no problems" with the court.

The men's team will face off against China and fellow group contenders Russia tomorrow while the women's team will start their campaign against Malaysia.


This article was first published on June 19, 2014.
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