SEA GAMES 2019: Penalty Shootout Heartbreak for Men’s Floorball Team
02 December 2019
It was a repeat of the 2015 final when Singapore met Thailand on Sunday (1 Dec) to decide the gold medal in men’s floorball competition. But that was as far as the similarities went.
While the previous final saw a 9-0 win for Singapore to secure gold, the 2019 edition was anything but comfortable as it went down to the wire and ended in heartbreak for the defending champions.
Singapore met Thailand in a repeat of the 2015 final.
In the four years since floorball was featured at the Southeast Asian Games, Thailand have improved in leaps and bounds, as evidenced by the tough fight their women’s team put up in losing their final 3-2 to Singapore earlier the same afternoon.
Having fought out a thrilling 7-7 draw in round-robin competition, the men’s final between Singapore and Thailand at the University of the Philippines College of Human Kinetics Gymnasium in Quezon City promised to be a thriller, and so it turned out.
It was a ding-dong battle between two evenly-matched teams.
The first 10 minutes saw three goals scored, with Thailand taking a 2-1 lead. Singapore fought back to lead 3-2 at the end of the first 20-minute period. Singapore extended their lead to 7-4 at the end of the second period and led 8-4 seven minutes into the third and final quarter before Thailand stormed back. Four unanswered goals from Thailand forced the match into overtime, which did not produce any goals for either side. The ensuing tie-breaking penalty shootout saw Thailand scoring two of their five efforts while Singapore were able to convert only one of theirs.
Singapore floorball assistant Coach Jatin Nair said a few mistakes in the final period proved costly for his team.
“We started very well and game plan was well-executed. We knew we had to press them early and get in their faces. They play a two-line formation while we go with three lines, and we managed to pressure them into mistakes and got in the goals,” he said.
Singapore players celebrate a goal.
“But simple details let us down, such as marking, and we also didn’t get the luck of the bounce towards the end.
“Our players were all ready and prepared for the penalty shootout, I would say the mentality was awesome despite the pressure of the situation but fortune didn’t favour us. One effort hit the post, another went narrowly wide with the Thai keeper beaten – it was one of those days.”
The penalty shootout ended in Thailand’s favour.
“We can’t fault the boys for not bringing home the goal, we knew they left everything out there. We had nine debutants in our team and there is plenty to learn from this result.
“With the World Championship qualifiers coming up, our players will need to learn to be more mature, especially against stronger teams. This game is so fast and things can change in the blink of an eye. Our players have learned the hard way that wins, especially the big matches, are always hard-fought.”