Saturday, June 2, 2012

Malaysia hand it to Argentina

MALAYSIA will play South Korea in the fifth-sixth classification match in the Azlan Shah Cup, courtesy of Britain.
   The final will be between 2008 champions Argentina, and first time finalists New Zealand.
   Malaysia were already assured of a fifth-sixth placing match against South Korea when Britain beat Pakistan 2-1 in an earlier match.
   Coach Tai Beng Hai’s men then had the golden pick of either allowing Argentina or Britain to play in the final.
   Malaysia needed to beat Argentina to hand the final ticket to Britain, and a defeat will see Argentina play New Zealand.
  And they chose to go down tamely 1-0 to Argentina.
  The first 10 minutes of the match saw Argentina dominating, but missing sitters, while Malaysian strikers return the hospitality at the other end.
   The combinations of Faizal Saari and Firhan Ashaari, as well as Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and Hafifi Hafiz failed to break the deadlock as the score stood at 0-0 at the break.
     And after the re-start, Argentina made it count off their second penalty corner in the 40th minute, when Pedro Ibarra low push deflected off Baljit Singh’s stick and sailed between S. Kumar’s pads.
    That solitary goal was enough to take Argentina into the final against New Zealand. For the record, Argentina were champions in 2008, while New Zealand have yet to lay their hands on the trophy.
     Meanwhile New Zealand, who had already qualified for the final before playing South Korea, kept their energy and allowed the Koreans to collect three points off Jang Jong Hyun’s 69th minute attempt.

                        P  W  D  L  F  A  PTS

N ZEALAND    6   4   0    2    18      8      12
ARGENTINA   6   4    0    2     15    16     12
BRITAIN         6   3   2    1      13     11     11
INDIA             6   3    0    3     12     15      9
S KOREA        6   2    2    2      11      8      8
MALAYSIA      6   1    2    3     10      14     5
PAKISTAN      6   1    0    5     9       16      3

 RESULTS: South Korea 1 New Zealand 0, Britain 2 Pakistan 1, Argentina 1 Malaysia 0.
   TODAY: Final -- Argentina v New Zealand (8.35pm); Third-Fourth:  Britain v India (6.05pm); Fifth-Sixth: Malaysia v South Korea (3.30pm).