Sunday, March 24, 2019

Azlan Shsh Cup: The Saari Show

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: A brotherly act help subdue a fighting Poland before Malaysia went ahead to win 5-1 in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh Saturday.
  Poland, who arrived a day before the tournament started, after travelling for 48 hours from wintry conditions, defended stoutly for 15 minutes before Malaysia finally got their bearings straight in the second quarter.
  Faizal Saari scored off Malaysia's first penalty corner in the 20th minute, while brother Fitri nailed a field goal in the 28th.
  It was Faizal again in the 30th minute to make it 3-0, before Poland scored off a penalty corner attempt five seconds from half-time.
  After the breather, Ashran Hamsani got the fourth in the 36th, and Faizal scored his well-deserved hat-trick in the 45th minute. 
  Malaysia next play Japan, who lost to India 2-0 in an earlier match.
  "It was a good start to the tournament and my three goals today (yesterday) were also because of the one week training in Kuantan under Dutch penalty corner specialist Taeke Taekema," said Faizal.
  "Everything happened well, and this is what we are looking for in this team. The structure was well organised, and nothing more or nothing less, as we have many more matches to play," said Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans.
  "Naturally we were a little tired from travelling and could not match the speedy Malaysian's. And since we were a last minute replacement (for South Africa) and so our preparation were not very good.
  "We love it here, and the tournament is very prestigious for us and even if we had received a call-up two days before the tournament, we would have rushed to make the trip.
  "We have been welcome with open arms here and we really appreciate it. This is not the full squad, some players had work obligations as well as studies.
  "We could not bring five regulars, but I am not complaining as it gives a chance for the others to show their skills," said Poland coach Karol Sniezek.


                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
MALAYSIA        1  1  0  0  5  1  3
S KOREA         1  1  0  0  6  3  3
INDIA           1  1  0  0  2  0  3
JAPAN           1  0  0  1  0  2  0
CANADA          1  0  0  1  3  6  0
POLAND          1  0  0  1  1  5  0

  RESULTS: India 2 Japan 0, Canada 3 South Korea 6, Malaysia 5 Poland 1.