Monday, May 28, 2012

Cheers for Malaysia, points for India...

MALAYSIA won the capacity crowd cheers, but lost 3-2 to India in a highly entertaining Azlan Shah Cup match in Ipoh yesterday.
     The win gave India renewed hope of playing in the final, while Malaysia stare at another bottom finish.
   It was all Malaysia for the first five minutes as they hit the post, and then Faizal Saari failed to tap in from close range twice.
    But India went ahead with two quick goals, as Danish Mujtaba stole the first in the 10th minute, while Shivendra Singh turned a botched penalty corner into goal in the 13th minute.
    Shivendra failed to stop the push-out but cooly collected the ball and shot from the top of the semi-circle past goalkeeper S. Kumar’s open pads.
   The goal was hotly disputed by the Malaysians, who felt that the hit was taken from outside the semi-circle, but the umpire stood his ground.
    The score stood into the break, but after the restart, it was all Faizal again as he kept the Indian defenders busy.
   Faizal’s 40th minute attempt won Malaysia their second penalty corner, and Amin Rahim made sure with a powerful flick.
    But even before the fans could celebrate the goal, Tushar Khandker’s volley cracked open the Malaysian goalmouth for the third time in the 44th minute.
   However, where his brother Faizal failed, Fitri took it upon himself to reduce the deficit with a super cracker in the 58th minute but India held onto the slim lead for the remaining minutes.
   In another match, Argentina played fancy hockey in an entertaining 3-2 win over Olympic hosts Britain.
     The Pan-American champions have six points from two wins and two defeats and they kept their hopes alive for a place in the final with that win.
     Argentina scored off a counter attack in the eight minute when Enrique Paredes slammed in a rebound.
    Britain equalised in the 39th minute off their third penalty corner when Ashley Jackson’s low flick sailed past goalkeeper Daniel Bermejillo.
    But Argentina regain the lead two minutes later when Agustin Mazzilli’s long cross from the centre off the field was well deflected into goal by Paredes.
     Lucas Cammareri scored from close range to make it 3-1 in the 60th minute and all Britain could do was narrow the deficit off another a penalty corner by Jackson five minutes from time.
    In the first match of the day, South Korea outplayed Pakistan 4-0 to register their first win in four matches.

                        P  W  D  L  F  A  PTS

N ZEALAND    3  3  0  0    13    4     9
ARGENTINA   4  2  0  2     11    14    6
INDIA             4  2  0  2     8     11      6
BRITAIN         3  1  1  1      8     8    4
S KOREA        4  1  1  2      9      7    4
PAKISTAN      3  1  0  2     5     9     3
MALAYSIA      3  0  2  1     6    7     2

RESULTS: South Korea 4 Pakistan 0, Britain 2 Argentina 3, India 3 Malaysia 2.
   WEDNESDAY: Argentina v India (4pm), Britain v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan v Malaysia (8pm).

Kiwis at their best..

Team Played Points
1 New Zealand 3 9
2 Great Britain 2 4
3 Pakistan 2 3
4 Argentina 3 3
5 India 3 3
6 Malaysia 2 2
7 Korea 3                                                           

 AZLAN SHAH CUP Match results

27-05-2012 20:05
Great Britain 3 : 2 India
27-05-2012 18:05
Korea 3 : 4 Argentina
27-05-2012 16:05
New Zealand 3 : 1 Pakistan      

Faizal eyes India scalp

FAIZAL Saari saved Malaysia twice, and now he aims to claim their first win against India in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh tomorrow.
   Malaysia drew 1-1 with South Korea, courtesy of a Fazial goal, and then he helped Malaysia come back from the jaws of death by scoring two goals in the last three minutes for a 3-3 draw against Olympic hosts Britain.
   The 21-year-old Terengganu-born player, with 80 caps to his name, was also instrumental in handing Malaysia their first Junior Asia Cup gold as he scored six goals to be the top-scorer in Malacca.
   "The feeling is really good going into the India game, as we have had a two-day rest, and also, the comeback against Britain was just the boost we needed in this tournament," said Faizal who also scored in the Dublin Olympic Qualifier.
   Malaysia, wooden spoonists in the last edition, must beat India at all cost to make sure they finish in the middle of the pool.
   "This tournament is very important for me as we were given a chance to play against six teams which have already qualified for the Olympics.
   "We must learn from every match, as we build a side for the (senior) World Cup Qualifier (next year)," said Fazial.
   Coach Tai Beng Hai's charges last played India in the Champions Challenge II in South Africa and lost 5-4 in the quarter-finals last year. Before that, Malaysia had beaten India 4-3 in the semi-finals of the Asian Games.
   "The plan is simple, we must beat India to have a good finish in this tournament and it is not an impossible target. We did beat them in the Asian Games, and then they beat us narrowly in the Champions Challenge," said Beng Hai.
   After India, Malaysia play Pakistan and could end up with eight points with the New Zealand and Argentina matches in hand -- if the coach plays his cards right.
   TODAY: South Korea v Pakistan (4pm), Britain v Argentina (6pm), India v Malaysia (8pm).
   WEDNESDAY: Argentina v India (4pm), Britain v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan v Malaysia (8pm).