Saturday, May 31, 2008

KL-Singapore Final

KUALA Lumpur slammed the door shut on defending champions Perak with a late penalty stoke to win 3-2 in the National Under-16 hockey tournament in Alor Star yes terday.
And the City-lads will meet Singapore, who beat Penang 3- 2 in a three-minute blitz in the other semi-finals, for the national crown today.
Perak took an early lead when Firdaus Sidek scored a penalty corner goal in the third minute, and Kuala Lumpur looked like they were in for a hiding.
But R. Ramesh drew his team back into contention with an 18th minute field goal, only to see Perak take the lead again in the 20th minute off an Azrul Fazrin field goal.
Ramesh again gave Kuala Lumpur a life-line with a 23rd minute field goal, and the 2-2 score stood into the breather.

Both the teams played more cautiously in the second half, and the KL winner was finally nailed by Syamim Yusof when they received a penalty stroke in the 65th minute.
Penang were leading 2-0 by the 58th minute, with goals from Rashid Baharom (23rd) and Arif Rahman (58th), but they fumbled in the last four minutes of the match.
Singapore went on the attack after being spurred by Baqir Asali’s 66th minute penalty corner rebound goal. And the equaliser came in the 67th off Mohamed Azhari’s direct penalty corner hit, while the winner was scored in the 69th minute by Silas Razak off a field attempt.
"It will not be easy, but I believe the team which wants to win, will achieve it, like we did it today. We were down by two goals, but a concerted push in the last four minutes took us into the final," said Singapore etam manager Ian Ng when asked about playing KL in the final.
Both the teams are from Group C, and in the pool encounter, KL beat Singapore 4-2.
RESULTS -- Semi-finals: Perak 2 Kuala Lumpur 3; Sin gapore 3 Penang 2; Fifth-Eighth: Johor 3 Selangor 1, Kelantan 4 Terengganu 2.
TODAY -- Final: Kuala Lumpur v Singapore (5pm); Third- Fourth: Perak v Penang (3pm); Fifth-Sixth: Kelantan v Johor; Seventh-Eighth: Terengganu v Selangor.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sanjay goes to Games

THE Penang Royal Malaysian Customs has finally given leave to Penang HA vice-president S. Sanjilatheeban to officiate at the Terengganu Malaysia Games.
Sanjilatheeban, who is also the Malaysian Hockey Fed eration treasurer, tendered his resignation from the treasurer’s post on Wednesday, when his unrecorded leave was rejected.
"We (the MHF) are happy with the outcome, and grateful that the Penang Royal Malaysian Customs have agreed to give Sanjilatheeban leave.
"We need the support from employers, as hockey tour naments are run by volunteers, and hopefully, in future there will no longer be any such problems," said MHF secretary Sgt Hashim Yusoff.
Sanjilatheeban, has been the MHF treasurer since 2004 and is in his second term. He has also been the senior vice president of PSHA since 2000.

Perak confident of crown

ACROBATIC ... Terengganu girls' sepaktakraw player in training for the Malaysia Games carnival.
PERAK beat Kelantan 4-2 yesterday to set up a date with Kuala Lumpur in the semi-finals of the National Under-16 hockey tournament in Alor Star.
Kuala Lumpur were held to a 0-0 draw by Terengganu, but advanced 3-0 on penalty strokes.
In the last-eight encounter, Singapore beat Johor 6-4 and will meet Penang, who beat Selangor 5-2.
And Perak are confident that they will march into the final, and defend their crown again.
"We have the players to beat Kuala Lumpur, and then lay our hands on the title again," said Perak team manager M. Kulasingam.
Kulasingam’s confidence stems from the fact that Perak have 10 players who won the title last year.
"This batch of players have been together from the Under- 12 tournament, and they have a great understanding. And after watching the other states, I am certain that we have the edge and will go all the way again," said Kulasingam.
Perak got their goals off Firdaus Sidek (eighth), Shazril Irwan (20th), Shazrul Imran (30th) and Izad Hakimi (69th). Fitri Shaari (22nd) and Hanif Ropi (50th) scored for Ke lantan.
Johor took a 3-1 lead, but allowed Singapore back into the match in the second half, and were bundled out 6-4.
Mohamed Nor Aqmal (sixth, 34th, 52nd) and Hafiz Nawi (14th) scored for Johor, while Silas Abdul Razak (ninth, 36th), Mohamed Azhari (44th, 68th) and N. Balukumaran (56th, 60th) scored for Singapore.
RESULTS: Quarter-finals -- Perak 4 Kelantan 2, Johor 4 Singapore 6, Kuala Lumpur 0 Terengganu 0 (KL win 3-0 on penalties), Penang 5 Selangor 2.
TODAY -- Semi-finals: Perak v Kuala Lumpur (3pm); Singapore v Penang (5pm).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Singapore-Johor clash


DEFENDING champion Perak scalped Negri Sembilan 4-0 to meet Kelantan in the quarter-finals of the National Under-16 in Alor Star today.
The other last-eight encounters will be between neighbours Johor-Singapore, Kuala Lumpur-Terengganu and Penang-Selangor.
Yesterday, Perak had it easy against Negri in Group A, and scored off Haziq Samsul (26th), Azrul Fazrin (40th), Saiful Manan (45th) and Hanif Saidin (68th).
In Group B, Johor were also in form when they beat Kedah 4-1. Kedah took the lead off Farid Zuki in the 14th minute, but then collapsed like dominoes, thanks to Johor hat-trick hero Hafiz Nawi (16th, 42nd, 63rd), and Mohamed Nor Aqmal (58th).
RESULTS: Group C: Sabah 1 Kuala Lumpur 13; Group D: Sarawak 1 Penang 5; Group B: Kedah 1 Johor 4; Group A: Negri Sembilan 0 Perak 4.
TODAY: Quarter-finals -- Perak v Kelantan (7.30am), Johor v Singapore (9am), Kuala Lumpur v Terengganu (3pm), Penang v Selangor (5pm).

Group A
P W D L F A Pts
Perak 2 2 0 0 7 0 6
Selangor 2 1 0 1 5 4 3
Negri 2 0 0 2 1 9 0

Group B
P W D L F A Pts
Johor 3 3 0 0 12 3 9
Terengganu 3 2 0 1 14 2 6
Perlis 3 0 1 2 3 9 1
Kedah 3 0 2 1 3 18 1

Group C
P W D L F A Pts
KL 3 3 0 0 21 3 9
Singapore 3 2 0 1 24 5 6
Pahang 3 0 1 2 3 14 1
Sabah 3 0 1 2 3 29 1

Group D
P W D L F A Pts
Penang 3 3 0 0 18 3 9
Kelantan 3 2 0 1 13 8 6
Sarawak 3 1 0 2 5 12 3
Malacca 3 0 0 3 0 13 0

Penang HA Strikes Back

TERENGGANU girls in training for the Malaysia Games Under-21 hockey tournament. The multi-event Games, dubbed as the Malaysian Junior Olympics, begin 30/05/08.

THE Penang State Hockey Association (PSHA) expressed shock when told that its senior vice president S. Sanjilatheeban had resigned as treasurer of the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) with immediate effect.
The reason for the resignation was even more shocking — his application for unrecorded leave to serve at the 2008 Terengganu Malaysia Games was rejected by the Penang Royal Malaysian Customs.
A furious PSHA deputy president, Datuk Mary Ritchie said this was the first time a government department has done this, not approving the unrecorded leave for a government programme.
“How could a government department sabotage and not support a government programme? The Malaysia Games is a National Sports Agenda,” said a visibly distraught Mary.
“All government departments and Government Linked (GLC) Companies should, and must support, the event. It is understandable if the private sector does not support but there is no excuse for government bodies.
“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has even appealed to the private sector to have a corporate social responsibility, urging them to support government events.
“But here we have the Penang customs department director who thinks otherwise.”
Mary added that the government has been asking Malaysians to do national service but, shockingly, when someone is offering to do the service a government department becomes the stumbling block.
Mary said Sanjilatheeban’s decision to quit is a great loss to the PSHA as he is very hard working and dedicated administrator. In fact he is the first from Penang to be elected to the MHF.
“If necessary, PSHA will write to the prime minister, who is also the finance minister, as the customs department is under the finance ministry.
“We may also meet with Tan Sri Mohamad Nor Yaakob, the Finance Minister II to get his opinion,” said Mary.
“By right the customs department should be proud to have an officer who is also serving the country as a volunteer.”
Sanjilatheeban has been the MHF treasurer since 2004 and is in his second term. He has also been the senior vice president of PSHA since 2000.
When contacted, the customs department director’s office said that its director, Matrang Suhali was on leave.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Century for Olympic Hockey

CHILEAN children in the mood to usher in 100 years of Olympic hockey, a milestone which will be achieved in the 08/08/08 Beijing Olympics.


And the teams which will play in Beijing are:

MEN -- Group A: Germany (1), Spain (4), Korea (5), New Zealand (10), Belgium (12), China (17).
Group B: Australia (2), Netherlands (3), Pakistan (6), Great Britain (8), South Africa (13), Canada (15).

WOMEN -- Group A: Netherlands (1), Australia (4), China (5), Spain (8), South Korea (9), South Africa (12).
Group B: Argentina (2), Germany (3), Japan (6), New Zealand (7), Great Britain (10), USA (11).

Singapore in Q-finals

SINGAPORE qualified for the quarter-finals of the National Under-16 hockey tournament when they whipped Pahang 8-1 in Alor Star yesterday.
Playing in Group C, Singapore got their goals from A. Prashan (12th), Silas razak (27th), Matthew Chong (50th, 52nd, 65th), Alfian Samsuri (54th), Baqir Basali (58th) and Eugene Lee (69th).
Ikhwan Manshor (40th) scored for Pahang.
Kuala Lumpur, with a match in hand, have also qualified for the last eight from Group C.
In Group B, Terengganu beat Perlis for the last eight, while Johor will also play in the knock-out. And in Group D, the quarter-finalists are Penang and Kelantan.
RESULTS: Group C: Singapore 8 Pahang 1; Group D: Malacca 0 Kelantan 4; Group B: Perlis 0 Terengganu 1.
TODAY: Group C: Sabah v Kuala Lumpur (7.30am); Group D: Sarawak v Penang (9am); Group B: Kedah v Johor (3pm); Group A: Negri Sembilan v Perak (5pm).

Group A
P W D L F A Pts
Perak 1 1 0 0 3 0 3
Selangor 2 1 0 1 5 4 3
Negri 1 0 0 1 1 5 0
Group B
P W D L F A Pts
Terengganu 3 2 0 1 14 2 6
Johor 2 2 0 0 8 2 6
Perlis 3 0 1 2 3 9 1
Kedah 2 0 2 0 2 14 1
Group C
P W D L F A Pts
Singapore 3 2 0 1 24 5 6
KL 2 2 0 0 8 2 6
Pahang 3 0 1 2 3 14 1
Sabah 2 0 1 1 2 16 1
Group D
P W D L F A Pts
Penang 2 2 0 0 13 2 6
Kelantan 3 2 0 1 13 8 6
Sarawak 2 1 0 1 4 7 3
Malacca 3 0 0 3 0 13 0

MHF Treasurer Resigns

Sanjilatheeban (right), with former MHF president Raja Nazrin Shah (second from left), and current MHF president Tan Sri Admiral Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor (third from left).

MHF Treasurer S. Sanjilatheeban has announced that he is resigning as MHF Treasurer with immediate effect. He has resigned because his department, Royal Malaysian Customs, Penang has not approved his unrecorded leave.

Sanjilatheeban has been the treasurer since 2004. He is in his second term as the treasurer. He has rendered excellent services to MHF and hockey in Malaysia. All this while he has never encountered problem with his unrecorded leave but only this time it is being a problem.

MHF will write to the Director General of Customs and also Public Service Department to appeal. It is very sad to see a Government Department not supporting Malaysian Government programme such as SUKMA.
With his resignation, MHF daily operations will be effected. He is responsible for all the financial matters. Even in any tournament, his presence is needed. Recently for the 17th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Men’s International Hockey Tournament, he took his own leave to be in Ipoh to make sure it runs well. MHF will seek the help of Sports Minister to look into this. Maybe there are changes in Government policy not to allow government servants to serve NGO at federal level.

MHF Vice President, Dato’ Dr. S.S. Cheema also expressed shock: " Government departments should be supportive of sports and encourage their staff to take part in NGO. Infact the Customs Department should be proud to have their officer in the MHF.
He said: "Those days Government Departments supported sports and sports were in glory days. Even government circular has stated for unrecorded leave. We can’t expect private companies to grant leave for their staff. Moreover this is SUKMA. I will talk to him to withdraw the letter and MHF will talk to the relevant government authority to sort it out."


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shalin now a US pro


By Ajitpal Singh

SHALIN Zulkifli created history by becoming the first national bowler to turn professional in the United States.
The 31-year-old Shalin, will play her first professional tournament in the Professional Bowlers’ Association (PBA) West regional event - Camarillo Bowl Open in California, United States, starting on Friday.
The PBA regional tournaments are ranking events for the nationwide women’s Grand Finals in the end of the year.
Only the top ten ranked women bowlers from the regional events will get to compete in the Grand Finals.
Shalin said she was happy to finally realise her dreams of turning professional.
"The Camarillo event will be one of many tournaments, I will be competing in before I report back for national training in the end of next month," said Shalin yesterday.
"My goal in the regional tournaments is to qualify for the grandfinals. However, it will not be easy as I will have to compete against top professionals."
Shalin, who won three gold medals in last year’s Korat Sea Games, will also be using the regional events to fine tune her game before the Asian Championships in Hong Kong on June 2-12.
Shalin has been exempted from the Asian Championships centralised training which starts next month.
Meanwhile, Esther Cheah, who is down for a three month semester break, will compete in her first Asian Tour event for almost a year at the ongoing Singapore Open.
Esther, 22, is currently persuing a degree in psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the United States.
Shalin and Esther are the automatic choices for the national women’s team for the Asian event while World Ranking Masters champions Wendy Chai, Sharon Koh, Zan dra Aziela, Zatil Iman, Choy Poh Lai and Sin Li Jane will be vying for the other four spots in the team.
The team is expected to be named after the Singapore Open.
Zulmazran Zulkifli, Alex Liew, Daniel Lim, Aaron Kong, Adrian Ang, Mohd Noer Said, Syafiq Ridhwan, Zaid Izlan and Nor Aiman are among the contenders for six spots in the men’s team.
Meanwhile, in the Singapore Open, Zandra Aziela leads the women’s qualifliers on 902 followed by Sharon Koh 901 and Singapore’s Veleria Teo (896).
Zatil Iman is the women’s defending champion.
The national men bowlers have yet to roll off in the event.

Double whammy for T'gganu


By Devinder Singh

HOSTS Terengganu have been dealt a harsh hand after being drawn with the defending champions in both the men's and women's hockey at the Malaysia Games.
But the Terengganu men's team will still pose a formidable challenge to 2006 winners the Federal Territories and Negri Sembilan in the preliminary rounds having finished third in the recent National Under-21 championship.
That team will be the same that lines up when the hockey competition begins on Saturday with Terengganu Hockey Association honorary secretary Saberi Salleh expecting to claim a few scalps.
"Their performance was improved significantly which could give us hope of winning the gold medal on home soil. The National Under-21 tournament has shown what this team are capable of," he said.
Malacca, who emerged winners of that tournament after whipping Penang 8-0 in the final in January, will also fancy their chances having been drawn with Selangor, Perak and Brunei in Group C.
The Terengganu women's team have Sarawak, the gold medallists of two years ago, Pahang and Kedah for company in Group A.
But it is in Group B where the most closely contested battles will be fought where traditional hockey powerhouses Selangor, FT, Penang and Perak will all jostle for the two semi-final spots.
In the last Games in Kedah, FT won the men's hockey gold after beating Johor 4-1 while Sarawak took the women's gold after overcoming Penang 3-2.
The men's competition will be held at the Gong Badak Sports Complex while the women will play at the MBKT Stadium in Batu Burok.
DRAW - Men's Group A: Federal Territories, Negri Sembilan, Terengganu; Group B: Johor, Kedah, Sarawak; Group C: Selangor, Malacca, Perak, Brunei; Group D: Penang, Kelantan, Pahang, Perlis.
Women's Group A: Sarawak, Terengganu, Pahang, Kedah; Group B: Penang, Perak, Selangor, Johor, Federal Territoties.

Selangor whip Negri

SELANGOR demolished Negri Sembilan 5-1 in Group A of the National Under-16 tournament in Alor Star yesterday.
Group A, with only three teams in it, will now have to wait for the Perak-Negri match on Thursday to confirm the two quarter-finalists.
Negri need to beat Perak by 4-0 to qualify for the last eight, and this score will also drag Selangor along.
Suhaimi Awang nailed a hat-trick in the fifth, 24th and 54th minutes, while the other Selangor scorers were Abdul Rashid (43rd) and Shahrul Dennis (50th). The Negri goal was scored by Kavin Kartik (32nd).
RESULTS: Group A: Selangor 5 Negri Sembilan 1; Group B: Terengganu 12 Kedah 0; Group C: Pahang 2 Sabah 2; Group D: Kelantan 7 Sarawak 0.
TODAY: Group C: Singapore v Pahang (8am); Group D: Malacca v Kelantan (5pm); Group B: Perlis v Terengganu.


Group A
P W D L F A Pts
Perak 1 1 0 0 3 0 3
Selangor 2 1 0 1 5 4 3
Negri 1 0 0 1 1 5 0

Group B
P W D L F A Pts
Johor 2 2 0 0 8 2 6
Terengganu 2 1 0 1 13 2 3
Perlis 2 0 1 1 3 8 1
Kedah 2 0 2 0 2 14 1

Group C
P W D L F A Pts
KL 2 2 0 0 8 2 6
Singapore 2 1 0 1 16 4 3
Pahang 2 0 1 1 2 6 1
Sabah 2 0 1 1 2 16 1

Group D
P W D L F A Pts
Penang 2 2 0 0 13 2 6
Sarawak 2 1 0 1 4 7 3
Kelantan 2 1 0 1 9 8 3
Malacca 2 0 0 2 0 9 0

Monday, May 26, 2008

Kuala Lumpur 4 Singapore 2

KUALA Lumpur moved a step closer to the National Under-16 hockey quarter-finals when they came alive in the second half to beat Singapore 4-2 in Group C in Alor Star yesterday.
And the KL hero was Syamim Yusof, who scored the opening goal, and then two more off penalty corners.
KL took the lead off Syamim in the 22nd minute, but Singapore equalised when Fadzli Adam scored a minute later, and then took the lead off N. Balukumaran in the 52nd minute.
KL came to live with three penalty corners in the 53rd, 65th and 69th minutes when Syamim, Aslam Hanafiah and Syamim again scored.
In Group B, Johor also made their move with a 6-1 whipping of Perlis to collect full points from two matches.
But it was not an easy encounter as by the 10th minute, the match was deadlocked at 1-1, but Johor found their second wind after the breather. Fariq Saadon (eighth, 58th), Hafiz Nawi (31st), Mohamed Nor Aqmal (39th) and Faiz Helmi (49th, 70yth) scored for Johor, while the Perlis goal was scored by Zaki Azman in the 10th minute.
RESULTS -- Group B: Johor 6 Perlis 1; Group C: Kuala Lumpur 4 Singapore 2; Group D: Penang 5 Malacca 0. TODAY: Group A: Selangor v Negri Sembilan (7.30am); Group B: Terengganu v Kedah (9am); Group C: Pahang v Sabah (3pm); Group D: Kelantan v Sarawak (5pm).

Group A

P W D L F A Pts
Perak 1 1 0 0 3 0 3
Selangor 1 0 0 1 0 3 0
Negri 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group B
P W D L F A Pts
Johor 2 2 0 0 8 2 6
Kedah 1 0 1 0 2 2 1
Perlis 2 0 1 1 3 8 1
Terengganu 1 0 0 1 1 2 0

Group C
P W D L F A Pts
KL 2 2 0 0 8 2 6
Singapore 2 1 0 1 16 4 3
Pahang 1 0 0 1 0 4 0
Sabah 1 0 0 1 0 14 0

Group D
P W D L F A Pts
Penang 2 2 0 0 13 2 6
Sarawak 1 1 0 0 4 0 3
Kelantan 1 0 0 1 2 8 0
Malacca 2 0 0 2 0 9 0

Argies stamp mark

THE Superwomen from Argentina.

Argentina are the winners of the Samsung Champions Trophy Women 2008, after defeating Germany 6-2 in a wonderful final in Mönchengladbach, Germany.
The thrilling encounter was played in front of the biggest crowd of the week, who did their best to encourage the home team in every possible way.
WorldHockey Player of the Year 2007 Luciana AYMAR enhanced her reputation as the world’s finest player with a stunning performance, setting up two goals and at times looking like an almost unstoppable force going forward. However, the match was not all about AYMAR, with Alejandra GULLA scoring a three times to help her side triumph over Germany.
Luciana AYMAR was named as the most valuable player at the Samsung Champions Trophy Women 2008, with Germany’s Kristina REYNOLDS given the goal keeper of the tournament award. The most promising player went to China’s ZHAO Yu Diao, who celebrates her 19th birthday today. The top goal scorer award was jointly shared by Australia’s Megan RIVERS and Netherlands Marilyn AGLIOTTI, who both scored five times during the tournament.
Earlier in the day, The Netherlands produced a wonderful display to defeat China 3-0, sealing the Bronze medal. Goals came from Marilyn AGLIOTTI, Wieke DIJKSTRA and Eefke MULDER, sealing a terrific third place finish for a side that were far from full strength.
Australia made light work of defeating Japan in the 5th / 6th place play-off match, winning the contest 3-0. Nikki HUDSON was in excellent form for her side, creating a goal and scoring another. Sarah YOUNG opened the scoring for The Hockeyroos, with Megan RIVERS and HUDSON completing the scoring.
However, it was Argentina’s day, and they will hope that can take the confidence of winning this event into the Beijing Olympic Games. Argentina have sealed their place in the 2009 Samsung Champions Trophy, and will be joined by World Champions Netherlands and host nation Australia. The winning team at the 2008 Olympic Games plus the two highest finishers in Beijing will complete the line-up.
Full reports of the matches can be found below.
Gold Medal: Argentina 6, Germany 2
Argentina defeated Germany 6-2 to win the Samsung Champions Trophy 2008.
Germany almost took the lead inside the first two minutes of the match, when Claudia BURKART fired just wide of the right post. However, it was Argentina who struck first, when Luciana AYMAR brilliantly set up Agustina Soledad GARCIA who smashed the ball past the helpless Kristina REYNOLDS.
Germany hit back seconds later when Janine BEERMANN skilfully passed into the goal. Incredibly, Argentina then moved into a 2-1 lead when Alejandra GULLA scored a typical strikers goal, swinging her stick to hit the ball just inside the post. The goal made her Argentina’s all time top goal scorer in Champions Trophy hockey, with 17 strikes to her name.
The match was thrilling, with both sides producing hockey way above the standard that was on show when the two sides met on Saturday. Argentina’s superstar Luciana AYMAR was in breathtaking form, and it was she who created a third goal for her team when she beat three players before forcing Kristina REYNOLDS into a good save, only for Carla REBECCHI to force the ball over the line.
Argentina went 4-1 up just after half time, when GULLA scored her second of the game before Kerstin HOYER pulled a goal back for Germany from a penalty corner, slamming a rebound into the net. Sensing a comeback, the crowd cheered their side forward, but Claudia BURKART silenced the supporters when she slapped a penalty corner into the goal to make the score 5-2.
The goal also seemed to knock the confidence out of Germany, who struggled to find a way back into the game. Argentina completed the scoring in the final minute of the match, when Alejandra GULLA flicked into the goal to complete her hat trick, sealing a memorable tournament victory for Las Leonas.
Bronze Medal: Netherlands 3, China 0
The battle for the bronze medal was won convincingly by The Netherlands, who out-classed China with a 3-0 victory.
Marilyn AGLIOTTI put her name on the score sheet for the Netherlands yet again when she tapped in a cross from close range in the seventh minute. It was her fifth goal of the tournament – she has undoubtedly been one of the star players at the Samsung Champions Trophy Women 2008.
The Netherlands should have been 2-0 up just before half time, when Eva de GOEDE aimed a penalty corner flick towards the top corner, but goalkeeper ZHANG Yi Meng pulled of a miraculous stick save to deny her. However, they did not need to wait long to get the second goal, when Wieke DIJKSTRA smashed a penalty corner into the goal on the stroke of half time.
China almost grabbed an equaliser six minutes into the second half, when MA Yi Bo launched a fierce penalty corner drag flick towards the bottom corner, but goal keeper Lisanne DE ROEVER brilliantly put the ball around the post. With eight minutes remaining, Eefke MULDER – recently named as the Dutch league’s best player - made it 3-0 with a sensational reverse stick shot that rocketed into the top of the goal to effectively seal the victory.
The Netherlands can hold their heads up high thanks to their third place finish, having turned up to the tournament missing various key players.
5th / 6th: Australia 3, Japan 0
Australia produced a good performance to beat Japan 3-0 in the opening game of the day to secure 5th place in the final standings.
The Hockeyroos had marginally the better of the opening period, creating many clear cut opportunities for themselves, but struggled to find the back of the net. Eventually though, the breakthrough came, when Sarah YOUNG volleyed into the goal after following a good penalty corner save from Ikuko OKAMURA. Japan were dangerous going forwards, but could not find the killer touch in the circle.
The second half was evenly contested, with Japan winning numerous penalty corners, but they could not take their chances. Nicole HUDSON had an opportunity to move Australia into a 2-0 lead when she fired a reverse stick shot towards goal from the top of the circle, but OKAMURA pulled off a terrific block to deny her.
Moments later, HUDSON unleashed another reverse stick shot, which was again saved well by OKAMURA, but Megan RIVERS was on hand to tap in from close range. It was her fifth goal in successive matches. Australia went 3-0 up in the 61st minute when HUDSON herself got on the score-sheet, striking powerfully through the legs of the goalkeeper. It was a comprehensive victory for Australia, something that will come as a welcome boost after an inconsistent tournament.
Argentina v Germany
> Argentina's only previous Champions Trophy title came at Amstelveen 2001, when they beat hosts The Netherlands in the final (3-2).
> Alejandra Gulla's three goals in today's final made her sole top scorer for Argentina in Champions Trophy history with 19 goals and third on the all-time top scorer list.
> The last Champions Trophy hat-trick before today was also scored by Gulla. At Rosario 2004, Gulla netted three times in Argentina's 6-0 win over New Zealand.
> Agustina Soldedad Garcia opened the score for Argentina, by netting her 16th Champions Trophy career goal.
> Carla Rebecchi scored Argentina's third goal, which marked her fourth in Champions Trophy competition and her second at Mönchengladbach 2008.
> Janine Beermann (GER) lifted her career total to five Champions Trophy goals, by netting her second goal at Mönchengladbach 2008.
> Kerstin Hoyer's goal marked the first penalty comer goal for Germany at Mönchengladbach 2008.
> Argentina's Maria de la Paz Hernández won her 100th cap today.
> Noel Barrionuevo (ARG) collected her 50th cap today.
> In August 2008, Argentina and Germany meet again in Pool B of the Beijing Olympic Games
Netherlands v China
> The Netherlands have now won a medal in each of the last 11 Champions Trophy editions, which is a tournament record.
> Fatima Moreira de Melo and Minke Smabers collected a record ninth Champions Trophy medal. They previously shared the record for most medals (8) with Nadine Ernsting-Krienke (GER), Rechelle Hawkes (AUS) and Minke Booij (NED).
> Marilyn Agliotti (NED) joined Megan Rivers (AUS) at the top of the goalscoring list, by netting her fifth goal at Mönchengladbach 2008.
> Wieke Dijkstra gave the Dutch a 2-0 lead by netting her first ever Champions Trophy goal.
> Eefke Mulder, who reached 100 caps today, scored the third goal for the Netherlands.
> Mulder is only the third player in the current Dutch squad to reach 100 caps, joining Fatima Moreiro de Melo and Minke Smabers.
Zhao Yu Diao (CHN) celebrated her 19th birthday today. She is the youngest player at Mönchengladbach 2008.
Australia v Japan
Australia equalled their lowest Champions Trophy ranking. At Amstelveen 2006, the Hockeyroos also finished fifth, beating New Zealand (2-1) in the Final 5-6.
Today's victory equals Australia's biggest victory over Japan in major competitions (Champions Trophy, Olympics and World Cup), first set at Quilmes 2007.
Australia successfully defended their unbeaten status against Japan, which is made up of seven matches in major competitions (five wins and two draws).
Sarah Young scored her second goal at Mönchengladbach 2008, to give Australia a 1-0 lead.
Megan Rivers scored her fifth goal at Mönchengladbach 2008, which takes her to the top of the goal scoring table.
Rivers equalled the record of scoring in five consecutive Champions Trophy matches, which was first set by Jackie Pereira at Frankfurt am Main 1989.
Nicole Hudson lifted her career total to 12 Champions Trophy goals, which makes her the fourth most prolific goalscorer for the Hockeyroos in the history of the competition.
Australia's Champions Trophy top scorer is Jackie Pereira, who netted 21 goals between 1987 an 1995.

Singapore on a high


SINGAPORE proved their mettle in the MHF-Milo Under-16 event, by whipping minnows Sabah 14-0 in their opening Group C match at the Muazam Shah Sports Complex in Alor Star yesterday.
Captain A.Prashan was Singapore’s hero when he scored a hattrick in the 10th, 20th and 63rd minutes.
Mohd Fadzly Adam, Nur Ashriq Ferdaus and N.Balaku maran added a brace each while the other goals for Sin gapore were scored by Muhd Zulfadli, MD Hidayat, Silas Abdul Razak, Mohd Azhari and Matthew Chong.
Singapore will face their real test today when they meet title favourites Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur, who won this year’s Malaysian Sports Schools Council (MSSM) Under-18 title, beat Pahang 4-0 in their opening match on Saturday.
Kuala Lumpur manager Lokman Yahaya said the match against Singapore will be a tough affair.
"Singapore are a very talented team and we need to be careful against them," he said yesterday.
Meanwhile, defending champions Perak opened their cam paign by defeating Selangor 3-0 in a Group A match yes terday.
Shazril Irwan Nazli scored a brace off field attempts in the 10th and 63rd minutes while Muhd Azrul Fazrin Latif got Perak’s other goal in the 19th minute.
Minnows Sarawak, however, pulled the biggest upsets so far by thrashing former powerhouse Malacca 4-0.
Micheal Usik Jambol was the toast of the Sarawak side when he scored a hattrick in the 20th, 33rd and 60th minutes. Sarawak’s other goal was scored by Christnall Micheal Jiang in the first minute.

RESULTS: Group A:Perak 3 Selangor 0; Group B:Perlis 2 Kedah 2; Group C:Singapore 14 Sabah 0; Group D:Sarawak 4 Malacca 0.
Today’s Fixtures: Group B: Johor v Perlis (8am); Group C:Kuala Lumpur v Singapore (5pm); Group D:Penang v Malacca (3pm).

KL hammer Pahang


KUALA Lumpur opened their MHF- Milo Under-16 hockey tournament on a winning note, when they thrashed Pahang 4-0 in a Group C match at the Muazam Shah Sports Complex in Alor Star yesterday.
Mohamed Zukhairi Hashim opened the scoring for Kuala Lumpur in the 12th minute off a penalty corner set-piece.
Six minutes later, Mohamed Syamin Mohamed Yusof added the second from a field attempt.
Syamin was on target again with a penalty corner de flection in the 51st minute for Kuala Lumpur’s third goal.
Mohamed Fitri Affendi made sure of a convincing win with the fourth gaol in the 64th minute from a field attempt.
"It is a good start and we able to try our all our reserves in the game as well. We wanted to get off with a win and were not looking for a big margin win. The important thing for us was to try and make sure our playing combinations got their move s right," said Kuala Lumpur team manager Lokman Yahaya.
Kuala Lumour will face Singapore tomorrow and a win will ensure them a spot in the quarter-finals.
Earlier, Penang hammered Kelantan 8-2 in a Group D match.
Mohamed Noor Hazwan, Mohamed Rashid Baharom, Mo hamed Khairul Naim and Mohamed Safwan Sazali each scored a brace for Penang while Kelantan goals were scored by Mohamed Nadzmi Hamzah and Mohamed Shafiq Che Muda.
Both teams will have a rest day today.
In another match, Johor defeated Terengganu 2-1 in a Group B match.

Group B: Johor 2 Terengganu 1
Group C: KL 4 Pahang 0
Group D: Penang 8 Kelantan 2
Group A: Perak vs Selangor (3.00pm)
Group B: Perlis vs Kedah (5.00pm)
Group C: Singapore vs Sabah (9.00am)
Group D: Malacca vs Sarawak (7.30am)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Under-16 from today

POWER PACKED: Song Quing Ling of China and Anneke Boehmert of Germany in action during the Women's Champions Trophy in Germany. The German ladies won 2-0.

THE National Under-16 hockey tournament starts today in Alor Star, with defending champions Perak starting as the early favourites.
Perak beat Johor 2-1 in the final last year, and the Silver State has Selangor and Negri Sembilan for company in Group A this year.
The top two teams from each group advances into then quarter-finals, and Perak will have it easy, because their group has only three teams.
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) coaching chairman C. Paramalingam said scouts will be on the lookout for new talent from the Under-16.
"We need more goalkeepers from this age group, because we do not want to be stuck like the present situation, where there is a limited choice for national call-ups.
"Shahid (Ali Khan) will be on the look out for goalkeepers, and we hope to select as many as possible and start training them from now," said Paramalingam.
Shahid, from Pakistan, is the national goalkeepers coach, and has been retained by the MHF until the Asia Cup next year.
"I have also appointed a few development coaches, and they will select a pool of talent from the Under-16," said Paramalingam.
Group A: Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan; Group B: Johor, Perlis, Terengganu, Kedah; Group C: Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Singapore, Sabah; Group D: Penang, Kelantan, Malacca, Sarawak.
TODAY: Group D -- Penang v Kelantan (8am); Group C: Kuala Lumpur v Pahang (3pm); Group B: Johor v Terengganu (5pm).
TOMORROW: Group D: Malacca v Sarawak (7.30am); Group C: Singapore v Sabah (9am); Group A: Perak v Selangor (3pm); Group B: Perlis v Kedah (5pm).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Courting a striker

SAD STATE .. Defender and penalty corner drag-flicker Amin Rahim of Malaysia scored two goals in the Japan Qualifier, and he again scored five of Malaysia's nine goals in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.

NATIONAL chief coach Sarjit Singh is courting a world class striker, but not to join the team as a player, but to coach his blunt forwards.
And the striker is expected to start his work after the Beijing Olympics.
The Malaysian forward-line has only scored a total of 10 goals in both the Japan Olympic Qualifiers and the Azlan Shah Cup, and a foreign coach is badly needed to sharpen their skills in the semi-circle.
“Yes, I have a striker-coach in mind, but I can’t release his name yet because I need to consult the (MHF) Coaching Committee, as well as the National Sports Council for endorsement first.
“We have a good set of strikers, but they run out of ideas when in the semi-circle, and this needs to be arrested before the Asia Cup next year,” said Sarjit.
The Asia Cup will double-up as a qualifier for the 2010 Delhi World Cup.
MHF Coaching Chairman C. Paramalingam said since the council had agreed to hire a short-term strikers coach, he will wait for Sarjit’s recommendation.
“Yes, we have skilful strikers, but they lack composure in the semi-circle, and they don’t know which strokes to pick. They need to be coached on when to hit, push, flick, or just tap the ball in when the situation warrants,” said Paramalingam.
Paramalingam is also of the opinion that since the Malaysian strikers have a large number of circle penetrations in both the tournaments, only a little fine-tuning is needed to get them scoring more goals.
“We can’t wait anymore, because there is a very important assignment in the Asia Cup, where failure is no longer an option.
“If we start training them from this year, I have a feeling we will do well in future tournaments,” said Paramalingam.
Meanwhile, goalkeepers’ coach Shahid Ali Khan and a few development coaches will scout for players during the national Under-16 tournament in Alor Star starting this Saturday.

Satgunam six-a-side

THE late S. Satgunam (pic), a former Malaysian Hockey Federation secretary, who was a world class administrator.
THE Second S. Satgunam six-a-side challenge will be held at the Seremban II Hockey Stadium on June 21-22.
Last year, 36 teams competed in the tournament, in honour of the late Satgunam who was a former Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary.
Negri Sembilan is honouring the hockey stalwart, as he was also the NSHA secretary.
Invitations this year have also been extended to clubs in the Asian region, and the closing date for local teams is May 30, with an entry fee of RM100.
The prize money of RM3,000, RM2,500, RM2,000 and RM1,500 will be awarded to the top four teams respec tively.
For information, contact NSHA secretary P. Tamil Selvan at 019-3650303 of fax 06-6011205.

Monday, May 19, 2008

World Cup not in striking distance

Argentina players celebrate with the Azlan Shah Trophy after beating India 2-1 in Ipoh.
Sultan Azlan Shah presenting a momento to Argentine skipper Juan Manuel Vivaldi, who is their 28-year-old goalkeeper with 84 caps.

MALAYSIA will not qualify for the 2010 Delhi World Cup, if the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) coaching committee does not inject drastic changes into the forward-line.
The statistics of the past two tournaments — the Japan Olympic Qualifier and the Azlan Shah Cup — are damning on the forwards.
In Japan, Malaysia scored 16 goals and let in 14. The strikers who delivered were Chua Boon Huat (three goals), Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (three) and Razie Rahim (two). Defenders Jiwa Mohan (two goals), Amin Rahim (two goals), Shahrun Nabil (two goals) and midfielder Kelvinder Singh (two goals) were the other scorers.
At the Azlan Shah Cup, five of Malaysia’s nine goals were scored by defender Amin Rahim from penalty corners while midfielders Kelvinder Singh and Azlan Misron had one each. And only two goals, by S. Selvaraju and Chua Boon Huat, were scored by forwards.
The defenders let in 16 goals, and Malaysia finished last on their own turf. That means in 12 matches, the strikers have only scored 10 goals, with Ismail Abu among those who fired blanks in both the tournaments.
Coach Sarjit Singh’s report after the Japan Qualifier, presented to the MHF council by the coaching committee, showed there were a total of 143 circle penetrations in six matches, while the highest was 43 against Italy, who only entered the Malaysian semi-circle 11 times, but scored four goals in the 4-4 draw.
With Malaysia out of the Olympics, there are no assignments for the seniors this year, but they have a tough Asia Cup next year which doubles up as a qualifier for the 2010 World Cup. The MHF council has agreed to bring in foreign consultants to train the strikers and defenders, while Pakistan’s Shahid Ali Khan trains the goalkeepers.
But the MHF must also bring out it whip, dust it of cobwebs, and drop those who have not been consistent this year. The situation today is that once you cement your place in the national squad, you are assured of a place even though you fail to deliver consistently.
Drop the non-performers, and this lesson will spur the rest to do much better. If not, we can even kiss goodbye to whatever hopes Malaysia have of playing in the 2012 London Olympics.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Argentina celebrate after beating India 2-1 in Ipoh, Malaysia.
RESULTS: Final -- India 1 Argentina 1 (Argentina win on golden goal); Third-Fourth: New Zealand 2 Pakistan 1; Fifth-Sixth: Belgium 3 Canada 3 (Canada win on golden goal); Seventh: Malaysia.

MARIO Almada’s brace handed Argentina the Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy only after three attempts, when they beat India 2-1 in Ipoh yesterday.
The tournament was incepted in 1983, but Argentina made their debut in 2006 and ended seventh, and last year their were placed fifth. Both the times, the tournament had eight teams.
The match was tied 1-1 at regulation time, but Almada’s sudden-death deflection ended an Indian dream.
India were dangerous on the counter, but void of ideas when in the Argentine semi-circle, and muffed many chances before perfecting their first penalty corner won in the 11th minute.
Drag-flicker Sandeep Singh sent it to the right of goalkeeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi for the lead, and his ninth goal of the tournament.
Argentina draw level when Mario Almada slammed in a field goal from close range in the 14th minute. The final minute of the first half saw a skirmish, after a botched Argentine penalty corner, but no cards were flashed.
After the breather, the match turned robotic, as both sides played cautiously and only relied on counter-attacks. Argentina were the more dangerous side in the last five minutes, but failed to break the deadlock, and the match went into extra-time, sudden-death.
In the first minute itself, the golden goal came off a Mario Almada deflection, and the Argies got their hands on the Trophy after only three tries.

HALF-TIME: Ind 1 Arg 1

FINAL: Half-time: India take lead with Sandeep Singh penalty corner in the 11th minute, Argentina equalsie off Mario Almada field goal in the 14th minute. India look the better side in attack, but void of ideas in the Argentine semi-circle.
Argentina soak in the pressure, and not their usual cool self. Easily loose ball control, and enter dressing room tied 1-1. India 1 penalty corner, Argies 2.
Sandeep Singh now tournament top-scorer with nine goals.
After the breather, the match turned robotic, as both sides played cautiously and only relied on counter-attacks. Argentina were the more dangerous side in the last five minutes, but failed to break the deadlock, and the match went into extra-time, sudden-death.
THIRD-FOURTH: New Zealand 2 Pakistan 1. Bronze Medal for New Zealand. NZ record -- 1991 Fourth, 1995 Bronze, 1998 Fourth, 1999 Sixth, 2000 Sixth, 2003 Bronze, 2005 Fourth, 2006 Fourth.
FIFTH-SIXTH: Canada 3 Belgium 3 when the regulation hooter blew. Canada win on golden goal in the 81st minute.
SEVENTH: Malaysia.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

India v Argentina final

Malaysia's Chua Boon Huat epitomises how close the tournament was for Malaysia. At one stage, the story was for Malaysia to beat Belgium and India for a place in the final, but they blew both the matches.17/05/08
INDIA edged Malaysia 2-1 and will meet Argentina in the final of the 17th Azlan Shah Cup tomorrow (18/05/08).
Malaysia will not be involved in the play-offs, as their pathetic display in Ipoh has cemented their faith at the bottom of the seven-team pool.
Argentina, meanwhile, even though had qualified for the final much earlier, played to a 2-2 draw against Canada as a warm-up to the final today.
The Argentines made their debut in in the Azlan Shah Cup in 2006 where they ended seventh in an eight-pool tour nament.
And last year, the Argentines were fifth in a also an eight- team pool.
India are three-time Azlan Shah Cup champions, won in 1985, 1991 and 1995, but it has been a long 13 years since they have lifted the Trophy.
The form-book favours the Argentines, who have yet to be beaten in Ipoh, while India came back into the picture after a disastrous start, which included a 5-1 drubbing in the hands of the South Americans.
Yesterday, India scored off a Shivendra Singh field goal and a Sandeep Singh penalty stroke in the first half, while Malaysia got their consolation after the final hooter, when Amin Rahim scored from a penalty corner.
RESULTS: Argentina 2 Canada 2, India 2 Malaysia 1, New Zealand 3 Belgium 1.
TODAY: Final: India v Argentina (8pm): Third-Fourth: Pakistan v New Zealand (5.30pm); Fifth-Sixth: Belgium v Canada (3pm).
P W D L F A Pts
ARGENTINA 6 4 2 0 19 8 14
INDIA 6 4 0 2 17 16 12
PAKISTAN 6 3 1 2 18 16 10
NEW ZEALAND 6 3 0 3 14 14 9
BELGIUM 6 2 0 4 15 17 6
CANADA 6 1 2 3 7 12 5
MALAYSIA 6 1 1 4 9 16 4

Argentina 2 Canada 2

HALF-TIME: Argentina 0 Canada 0. Argentina four penalty corners and one penalty stroke, which Juan Ignacio Gilardi took but Canada goalkeeper Mike Mahood save.
Canada, defending, only one penalty corner.

SECOND-HALF: Argentina use second goalkeeper Juan Tomas Espinosa first time in tournament, Juan Martin Lopez receive yellow card.
Argentina take lead in 48th minute, off a solo run and slam from Facundo Callioni and then make it 2-0 in the 60th minute when Ezequiel Martin Sosa scores a field goal.
Canada narrow gap with Sukhwinder Singh penalty corner rebound goal in the 61st minute.
Ravi Kahlon finds the equaliser for Canada in the 69th minute, after receiving a long ball from Sukhwinder.

Friday, May 16, 2008


BEAUTIES with the Beast outside the Green Stadium in Japan where Malaysia were robbed of an entry into the final of the Olympic Qualifiers, because the International Hockey Federation (FIH) were slow to adapt to changes in Video Umpiring, which had taken place in cricket and Tennis much earlier.
MALAYSIA’S protest during the Japan Olympic Qualifiers has saved future tournaments from turning into a sham.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has finally amended its video umpiring rules to include a clause which allows: Whether a breach of the rules has been observed within the attacking circle in the play leading to the award ing or disallowing of a goal. It is then for the umpire to take any breach into account in reaching his decision.
Earlier, video umpiring could only judge whether the ball crossed the goal line, whether the ball was legally played or touched inside the circle by the stick of an attacker before the ball crossed the goal line and whether the ball travelled outside the circle before it entered the goal during the taking of a penalty corner.
Malaysia were leading Japan 3-2 in the Qualifiers, and only a minute separating them from playing Germany in the final, when an equaliser was scored after a Japanese player stopped the ball with his thigh.
But then, there was no provision in video umpiring to help Malaysia’s cause. And the protest was thrown out, and Malaysia found themselves out in the cold.

The new rule, called ‘minor amendments’ by the FIH, will be used in the: Men’s and women’s Champions Trophies 2008, but a formal proposal may be put to the Executive Board following the completion of both of these events if the trial is deemed a success.
The FIH also said: These adjustments have been brought in to counteract problems that have occurred at previous tournaments.
To late for Malaysia, but not for hockey.

Pathetic Malaysia

MALAYSIAN players and officials after winning a bronze medal at the Japan Olympic Qualifiers.


FROM a potential finalist, Malaysia are now embarrassingly close to not even playing in the 17th Azlan Shah Cup playoff in Ipoh on Sunday.
The same script in the Japan Olympics Qualifiers last month, was shown as a re-run in Ipoh, and the seismic cracks which caused both disasters in Japan and also in Ipoh are in defense, midfield and attack. Malaysia meet India today, and are only good to play a spoilers role.
India need a win to play in the final against Argentina, while Malaysia to avoid finishing last and not even playing in the play-off of this seven-team tournament.
A defeat today would turn Malaysia into mere spectators at their own back-yard.
DEFENSE: As shaky as ever, and have let in 14 goals, some of which can be awarded as the silliest of this edition. Megat Azrafiq is overweight and easy to beat, while Madzli Ikmar and Jiwa Mohan have had a better tournament. But goalkeeper S. Kumar has been blowing hot and cold.
MIDFIELD: Non-existent, because Malaysian have been playing more overhead balls which bypasses this section, than mounting well planned attacks from midfield.
FORWARDS: Had more than their fair share of circle penetrations, but Malaysia have only scored eight goals, of which, four were scored by defender Amin Rahim during penalty corners. Two by midfielders Kelvinder Singh and Azlan Misron, and two strikers by S. Selvaraju and Chua Boon Huat.
The only thing going for Malaysia is their fitness, and it is not enough to carry a team in any high-ranking tournament.
MAY 17: Argentina v Canada (4pm), India v Malaysia (6pm), New Zealand v Belgium (8pm).
P W D L F A Pts

ARGENTINA 5 4 1 0 17 6 13

PAKISTAN 6 3 1 2 18 16 10

INDIA 5 3 0 2 15 15 9

BELGIUM 5 2 0 3 14 14 6

NEW ZEALAND 5 2 0 3 11 13 6

CANADA 5 1 1 3 5 10 4

MALAYSIA 5 1 1 3 8 14 4

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Malaysia heading for rock-bottom

RESULTS: India 2 Pakistan 1, New Zealand 3 Canada 0, Belgium 4 Malaysia 2.
MALAYSIA lost 4-2 to Belgium yesterday, and are now firmly rooted at the bottom of the 17th Azlan Shah Cup standings.
And if they remain there after their last pool match against India tomorrow, there will be no need for a play-off, as the lowest is among the fifth and sixth only.
Malaysia were forced to defend from the whistle, as Belgium inserted great pressure and goalkeeper S. Kumar had to bring out a few heroic saves.
But the inevitable finally happened in the 20th minute, when Charles Vandeweghe gave his team the lead with a rebound goal.
Malaysia went on the offensive after that, and played some great hockey before sounding the board for the equaliser in the 24th minute.
Amin Rahim’s low flick gave a cracking sound as it crashed onto the board, and Malaysia went into the breather on equal terms with Belgium.
But the second half turned into a nightmare, as Malaysia kept on missing sitters while Vandeweghe scored his brace in the 43rd.
Malaysia equalised at 2-2 in the 46th minute when Amin Rahim scored again, but the Belgians walked away with full points with strikes from Jerome Dekeyser (52nd) and Thomas Briels (69th).
Meanwhile, India put up a brave front to beat Pakistan 2-1 and open the door to the final a little wider. India, with nine points, now need to beat Malaysia to play in the final.
Sandeep Singh (seventh) and Diwakar Ram (26th), scored for India in the first half off penalty corners, while Muhammad Saqlain (59th) scored from the penalty spot for Pakistan in the second half.
New Zealand beat Canada 3-0 with goals from David Kosoof 20th, Dean Couzins 48th and Nicholas Wilson 63rd.
TODAY: Rest Day.
MAY 17: Argentina v Canada (4pm), India v Malaysia (6pm), New Zealand v Belgium (8pm).
P W D L F A Pts
ARGENTINA 5 4 1 0 17 6 13
PAKISTAN 6 3 1 2 18 16 10
INDIA 5 3 0 2 15 15 9
BELGIUM 5 2 0 3 14 14 6
NEW ZEALAND 5 2 0 3 11 13 6
CANADA 5 1 1 3 5 10 4
MALAYSIA 5 1 1 3 8 14 4


Sultan Azlan Shah with the 2007 champions Australia
Sultan Azlan Shah with the 2006 champions Netherlands

India 2 Pakistan 1


India 2 Pakistan 1
India scorers Sandeep Singh and Diwakar Ram. Muhammad Saqlain scored from the penalty spot for Pakistan in the second half.
Now, India need to win against Malaysia on Saturday to play in the final. Pakistan will surely be cheering for Malaysia!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Malaysia 2 Canada 2

Pakistan 3 Belgium 5
Malaysia 2 Canada 2
Argentina 2 New Zealand 1

MALAYSIA were held 2-2 by Olympic bound Canada, while Argentina became the first team to qualify for the final of the 17th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
Argentina beat New Zealand 2-1, while Pakistan lost a golden opportunity to follow suit, when they lost 5-3 to Belgium. Pakistan will now have to beat India today, if they want to play in the final.
Malaysia were at the receiving end for 19 minutes, but held on steadily and stunned the Canadians with a cracker if a goal.
Madzli Ikmar took a shot from deep inside the Malaysian half, and the ball whizzed past a handful of Canadians before reached Chua Boon Huat, who was standing at the Canadian penalty spot.
Chua’s back was towards the goal-mouth, but his reverse stick went past a defender and the Canadian goalkeeper Mike Mahood to give Malaysia the lead.
But in an anticlimax, after Malaysia missed three chances to increase the lead, goalkeeper S. Kumar made a blunder and handed Canada the equaliser.
Kumar rushed out to the top of the semi-circle to clear the ball, but missed and Sukhwinder Singh scored the easiest goal of the tournament and Canada were back on level terms.
But Malaysia went into the dressing room with a one-goal lead, when Amin Rahim’s direct penalty corner attempt sounded the board in the 27th minute.
The hosts lived dangerously in the second half, and allowed Canada a free hand to win penalty corners, but Baljit Singh Charun, the first runner, was too fast for them.
There were plenty of opportunities to increase the lead, but Kelvinder Singh and S. Selvaraju were not sharp enough in the semi-circle.
But Canada nailed the equaliser in the 62nd minute, off their sixth penalty corner, which was scored by Mike Tuffer.
THURSDAY: India v Pakistan (4pm), New Zealand v Canada (6pm), Belgium v Malaysia (8pm).

P W D L F A Pts
ARGENTINA 5 4 1 0 17 6 13
PAKISTAN 5 3 1 1 17 14 10
INDIA 4 2 0 2 13 14 6
CANADA 4 1 1 2 5 7 4
MALAYSIA 4 1 1 2 6 10 4
BELGIUM 4 1 0 3 10 14 3
NEW ZEAL 4 1 0 3 8 13 3

Pakistan blow it

Pakistan 3 Belgium 5
Argentina 2 New Zealand 1

PAKISTAN lost out on golden chance, when they lost to Belgium. Now they will have to beat India on Thursday if they want to play in the final against Argentina.

Argentina in Final

Picture on right: Australian's celebrate with the Azlan Shah Cup after beating Malaysia 3-1 in 2007.
Argentina qualified for the 17th Azlan Shah Cup final when they edged New Zealand 2-1.
Argentina only made their Azlan Shah Cup debut in 2006 and finished seventh, and it looks like they have a good chance of lifting the Trophy this year.

P W D L F A Pts
ARGENTINA 5 4 1 0 17 6 13

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nine points or bust

AFTER two fantastic displays, the national hockey team were heavy-footed when they were hammered 5-0 by Ar gentina on Monday.
And even though Malaysia received a fair share of penalty corners, Amin Rahim’s flicks were either wide, or easily palmed away by the goalkeeper.
Could the remaining three pool matches turn into a night- mare?
Coach Sarjit Singh feels the worst is over, and is planning for full nine points from now onwards.
"My fear became a reality against Argentina. I had a notion that after the gruelling match against New Zealand (Malaysia won 2-0), the team will be heavy (muscles become tight) and that is exactly what happened.
"This usually happens to any team in one match in a tournament, and now I believe my team will fare much better against Canada, Belgium and India," said Sarjit.
Pakistan were in the same boat with Malaysia on Monday, after the hard-earned 3-3 draw against Argentina on Sunday. They were trailing Canada 1-0, but recovered with two late goals in the 64th and 67th minutes.
On penalty corners, Sarjit said he is giving Amin a chance to prove himself.
"We did try a set-piece during the second penalty corner, but it did not work. So, I gave the rest to Amin to try direct flicks. I need to assess him in this tournament, and see if he will be valuable in our quest to qualify for the 2010 Delhi World Cup from Asia Cup next year," said Sarjit.

MAY 14: New Zealand v Argentina (4pm), Belgium v Pak istan (6pm), Malaysia v Canada (8pm).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Argentina 5 Malaysia 0

RESULTS: Belgium 4 India 6, Canada 1 Pakistan 2, Malaysia 0 Argentina 5.
MALAYSIA were blanked out 5-0 by Argentina in the 17th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
The defeat has almost shut the final door on Malaysia, while the Argentines and Pakistan remain unbeaten.
Malaysia were a bundle of nerves, and gave away possession too easily, and allowed Argentina to enter the dressing room with a healthy 2-0 lead.
The national players were not sharp enough in the semi-circle, and wasted two penalty corners that came their way in the first half.
Amin Rahim’s first attempt was palmed away by the goalkeeper, while his second flick went wide.
Argentina took the lead in the 19th minute when Facundo Callioni stood at the far post and connected a free-hit which sailed past a sea of Malaysian hockey sticks.
And in the 28th minute, Callioni was again on target, when he deflected a penalty corner attempt from the penalty spot to claim a brace.
With two seconds remaining in the half, Malaysia almost snatched the tonic they needed, but Ismail Abu’s diving attempt to connect a cross was just short of the target.
The second half started on a wrong note, when defender Jiwa Mohan was sent to the sin-bin for a rough tackle in the 41st minute, and coach Sarjit Singh had to bench a few forwards and send in the defenders.
Argentina pushed forward, and won a penalty stroke after Madzli Ikmar used his head-gear to stop the ball in a 46th minute penalty corner.
Juan Gilardi flicked in from the penalty spot, and Malaysia looked like they had no more will-power to stage a come-back even though there was plenty of time left.
Lucas Hernan slotted in the fourth in the 54th minute, and reduced Malaysia to a loose outfit, and it was easy for Thomas Argento to score the fifth in the 68th minute.
Meanwhile, India beat Belgium 6-4, after taking a comfortable 5-1 lead in the first half.
Shivendra Singh (9th, 68th), Sandeep Singh (29th, 35th), Diwakar Ram (22nd), and S.V. Sunil (32nd) scored for India. Belgium got their goals off Thomas Briels (45th, 59th), Alexandre De Sadeleer (24th) and Charles Vandeweghe (61st).
Even in victory, their second in the tournament, India coach A.K. Bansal described it as a ‘horrible win for them’.
"However, we will go for wins in our two remaining matches, (Pakistan and Malaysia) to qualify for the third placing playoff,"

TODAY: Rest Day.
TOMORROW: New Zealand v Argentina (4pm), Belgium v Pakistan (6pm), Malaysia v Canada (8pm).

P W D L F A Pts
ARGENTINA 4 3 1 0 15 5 10
PAKISTAN 4 3 1 0 14 9 10
INDIA 4 2 0 2 13 14 6
CANADA 3 1 0 2 3 5 3
MALAYSIA 3 1 0 2 4 8 3
NEW ZEALAND 3 1 0 2 7 11 3
BELGIUM 3 0 0 3 5 9 0

India 6 Belgium 4

INDIA: Shivendra Singh (9th, 68th), Sandeep Singh (29th, 35th), Diwakar Ram (22nd), S. V. Sunil (32nd).
BELGIUM: Thomas Briels (45th and 59th), Alexandre De Sadeleer (24th), Charles Vandeweghe (61st).
Note: I have left Ipoh for Kuala Lumpur (two and a half hour drive) for another assignment. So the updates will be slow, as I have to rely on ESPN and friends at the Azlan Shah Stadium.
Reporters there said India coach A. K. Bansal "said that it was a horrible win for them', as they allowed Belgium too much space in the second half.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pakistan 3 Argentina 3

RESULTS -- Canada 1 India 3, Malaysia 2 New Zealand 0, Pakistan 3 Argentina 3.
TODAY: Belgium v India (4pm), Canada v Pakistan (6pm), Malaysia v Argentina (8pm).

P W D L F A Pts

ARGENTINA 3 2 1 0 10 5 7
PAKISTAN 3 2 1 0 12 8 7
MALAYSIA 2 1 0 1 4 3 3
CANADA 2 1 0 1 2 3 3
INDIA 3 1 0 2 7 10 3
NEW ZEALAND 3 1 0 2 7 11 3
BELGIUM 2 0 0 2 1 3 0

Malaysia 2 New Zealand 0

MALAYSIA outclassed New Zealand in every department to win 2-0 in the 17th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
The national players were a class above, and could have score at least another three, but the crowd did not mind, as a win against an Olympic side was more than enough for them.
Malaysia were a bundle of nerves for 10 minutes, and the Kiwis almost ran riot in
the semi-circle and took three pot shots which went sizzling left, then right, and the
one that went smack in the middle was saved brilliantly by goalkeeper S. Kumar. But after the close shaves, the national team settled down, New Zealand were
forced to defend for long periods, before they cracked in the 32nd minute. A cross from Amin Rahim found Chua Boon Huat's stick and the ball bounced off
Kiwi goalkeeeper Paul Wool Ford right into Azlan Misron's path. Chua moved aside, and Azlan slammed in a cracker to hand Malaysia a well
deserved lead. Otherwise, the first half saw some stout defending by New Zealand and Malaysia,
and both teams went into the dressing room without conceeding any penalty
corners. The second half was a sizzler, as New Zealand opened up looking for the
equaliser, but the Malaysian defenders Baljit Singh Charun, Jiwa Mohan and Madzli
Ikmar made the least possible mistakes. And just when the Kiwis were loking comfortable inside the Malaysian semi-circle,
a 43rd minute counter was initiated from a deep in defence by Azlan Misron, who
found Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin. Tengku released the ball to S. Selvaraju, and the
Perak-born player cooly pushed the ball in and the scoreboard read: Malaysia 2
New Zealand 0. The Kiwis tried their level best after that, but Malaysia proved that they were made of sturdier stuff, and sailed home on the two goals.

"Malaysia played very well infront of their home crowd, and it is always difficult to beat a team which scores first, and then has a strong backing from the gallary," said New Zealand coach Shane McLeod.
National coach Sarjit was not happy with the first half, and said the margin of victory could have been bigger.
"The first half was a little slow, but we had ball possession, and kept ourselves in the match. The second half was almost perfect, but for the three chances which we muffed. But that is to be expected, in a highly charged match.
"Now, we must recover from this match, and play just as well against the hard-running Argentine side tomorrow (today)," said Sarjit.

India 3 Canada 1

India turned on the heat in the second half to beat Canada 3-1. India clawed back into the match after being a goal down, scored by Canadian Wayne Fernandes in the eight minute, and now have a better chance of a respectable finish in this tournament.
Canada held onto the lead until the first half hooter, but cracked under
tremendous pressure after the break.

India got their equalsier off a penalty stroke in the 44th minute, slotted in by Diwakar Ram, who then gave India the lead off a 51st minute penalty corner.
Shivendra Singh doused Canadian hopes when he scored off a field attempt in
the 53rd minute.

A 1975 World Cup bargain

The 1975 Classic beauty.
Vampire Supreme, with the World Cup Logo on the flat side.

Signatures of all the 1975 India hockey players.

A WALK around Ipoh's famous Old Town flea-market yesterday turned into a real
bargain, when a special edition Kuala Lumpur 1975 World Cup hockey stick was
found among the antiques on display.
The Vampire stick, manufactured specially after India beat Pakistan 2-1 at the
Stadium Merdeka, was lying among old records, rusty coins and old currency
It looked like any old hockey stick, and I almost moved along, but someting
prompted me to pick it up and have a closer look.
And 'WoW! The stick was a special edition designed a year after the KL World Cup, and it had the signatures of all the Indian players on it.
I asked the vendor: "How much? And since it was a noisy bazaar filled mostly with migrant workers from
Bangladesh, Myanmar and India, the vendor indicated by holding out his palms
showing eight fingers.
At first I thought he was saying RM80, but a scribe who was with me said: "Bargain, it can be bought for RM5." And the vendor came closer and I asked him again: "Berapa? (How much).
And when he said: RM8, I couldn't believe my ears, and quickly took out my wallet, but my friend bargained with the vendor, and we walked away only paying RM5 for a
stick which is about 31-years-old.
A real bargain, considering it was stillin good condition.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hard to hunt Kiwis

TODAY -- Canada v India (4pm), Malaysia v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan v Argentina (8pm).
TOMORROW: Belgium v India (4pm), Canada v Pakistan (6pm), Malaysia v Argentina (8pm).
NEW Zealand has always been a bogey team for Malaysia, and coach Sarjit Singh aims to break the jinx today at the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh. New Zealand beat Malaysia 1-0 in the Madrid Olympic Qualifiers in 2004, and then again 4-1 in the China Olympic Qualifiers in 2006, and we fared miserably after that in both the Qualifiers.

"This is the first time we will be playing New Zealand since I became national coach, and from what I see in the NZ-India (NZ win 4-3), and NZ-Pakistan (Pakistan win 6-3) matches, they have a formidable side, and we will have to play well above our normal capabilities to beat them," said Sarjit.
Malaysia played a superb match against Pakistan, and today's match will prove weather the team has consistency or not. And then there is the Kiwi penalty corner drag-flicker Hayden Shaw, who has always been a thorn in Malaysia's side. He was instrumental in Malaysia's defeat in both the Qualifiers.
"We will have to stop Shaw for sure, as he is a very consistent penalty corner flicker. The priority will be to minimise penalty corner give-aways, and when we do, the first runner will have to work extra hard to stop Shaw," said Sarjit.
New Zealand, Canada, Pakistan and Belgium are Beijing Olympic teams, while India, Malaysia and Argentina are the three who missed the cut, and are on a morale re-building stage.
"For me, not only do I want a good finish in the Azalan Shah Cup, but I also want to see players improve from what they were in the Japan Qualifiers. I will use this tournament as an appraisal, and those who choose to remain in the shadows, will find themselves left out in the next tournament," warned Sarjit.
So far, Argentina and Pakistan have been the most impressive sides in the Azlan Shah Cup, and they will clash in the last match of the day, in what is expected to be a cracker of an encounter.
India have been a total letdown, but that is only to be expected, as the team selection was done at the eleventh hour due to turmoil back home in the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) which saw the removal of their president K.P.S. Gill and secretary Jothi Kumaran by the Indian Olympic Council.
India, in the two matches they have played here, have relied too much on drag-flicker Sandeep Singh, while the forwards have been blunt and of no help at all.

Pargat: We need 5 years

OLYMPIAN Pargat Singh is of the opinion that Indian hockey will need at least five more years to wake up from the deep slumber that they are in today.
Pargat, a terror of a defender who also had an uncanny ability to dribble with one hand and score goals, was made the team manager for Azlan Shah Cup after Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) president K.P.S. Gill and secretary Jothi Kumaran were unceremoniously sacked by the Indian Olympic Council last month.
Jothi was caught on tape, by a television network sting, allagedly accepting money for the inclusion of a 16-year-old player in the Azlan Shah Cup team, and in the resulting investigation, the IHF president was also forced to resign.
"India is not in a good shape today, and we will have to start by forming a stronger base and stop firing coaches after every tournament as a short-term solution.
"This is to prepare for the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and World Cups, and after that, our long term goal will be to be ready to make an impact again in the 2014 World Cup," said Pargat.
He is of the opinion that India has two strenghts which will see it re-emerge as a hockey power again.
"We have a huge fan base world-wide, and the marketing is limitless once we start producing results again. This should be enough motivation for whoever takes over the IHF administration after this," said Pargat. After the TV sting, Pargat was among the selectors who chose a 'new' team for the Azlan Shah Cup. There are 11 juniors in the Azlan Shah Cup team, and they have been on the receiving end in two matches so far. Pargat, who retired with 313 caps, of which he was skipper for 168 matches from 1983 to 1997, is now the Punjab Director of Sports, and in the midst of planning for six-a-side artificial pitches in his state.
"We only have four artificial pitches in Punjab, and that is surely not enough. So, we are planning to have more mini-pitches, where six-a-side hockey can be played, and at the same time, youth will learn their basics on the artificial pitches and mature faster," said Pargat.
His parting words: "It is easy to talk and draw up plans, but to realise it, we need sincere officials and administrators."

Friday, May 9, 2008

Argentina 5 India 1

ARGENTINA hammered India 5-1 to chalk up their second consecutive win in the 17th Edition of the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.
Argentina, who edged Belgium 2-1 on Thursday, scored their goals off Facundo Callioni (11th, 44th minutes), Pedro Ibarra (31st), Tomas Argento (45th) and Juan Martin Lopez (53rd). Sandeep Singh scored for India in the 25th minute.


Canada 1 Belgium 0
Pakistan 6 New Zealand 3
Argentina 5 India 1

SUNDAY: Canada v India (4pm), Malaysia v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan v
Argentina (8pm).

P W D L F A Pts

ARGENTINA 2 2 0 0 7 2 6
PAKISTAN 2 2 0 0 9 5 6
CANADA 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
NEW ZEALAND 2 1 0 1 7 9 3
MALAYSIA 1 0 0 1 2 3 0
BELGIUM 2 0 0 2 1 3 0
INDIA 2 0 0 2 4 9 0

Pakistan hammer Kiwis

Pakistan 6 New Zealand 3
Canada 1 Belgium 0
PAKISTAN made a great impact in the 17th Edition of the Azlan Shah Cup when they trashed New Zealand 6-3 in Ipoh yesterday.
And the toast of the day was Rehan Butt, who scored four goals, and placed his team as the early favourites to lay their hands on the Trophy.
Pakistan were in a mean mood, and had New Zealand in a firm grip even though they were down 0-1 by the sixth minute.
New Zealand skipper Phillip Burrows' reverse stick attempt was like a training show, but Pakistan goalkeeper Salman Akbar failed the stop the floating attempt.
But that was as far as the Kiwis went, as Pakistan raised their tempo to mesmerising heights, and nailed the equaliser in the 11th minute, when Rehan Butt connected a cross from Muhammad Saqlain.
And New Zealand were further punished three minutes later, when Shakeel Abbassi scored after receiving a pass from Rehan Butt.
New Zealand were back-paddling after that, and Pakistan sent them deeper into the abyss in the 28th minute, and this time, Saqlain got his name on the scoreboard when he scored their third.
New Zealand looked like they were in for a trashing, as a brilliant field goal from Rehan Butt in the 30th minute made it 4-1.
But the Black Sticks were made of sturdier stuff, as they narrowed the score with a penalty corner goal from Hayden Shaw in the 33rd minute.
Hayden was again the point-man for the Kiwis, after emerging from the dressing room. He scored his penalty corner brace in the 47th minute, and now the match was almost an open affair as the score stood at 4-3.
But Rehan Butt had other plans, as he scored his hat-trick off a goalmouth melee in the 60th minute, and made it harder for the Kiwis to draw or snatch a victory. And just as regulation time came to an end, Rehan Butt scored his fourth and the Kiwis were trashed 6-3.
In the first match of the day, Canada made an impressive start in the Azlan Shah Cup, when they beat Belgium 1-0 in a bruising match.
Both the teams have qualified for the Beijing Olympics, as Canada beat Argentina in the Pan-American Games while Belgium defied the odds to beat world No 1 Germany in the European Championships bronze medal fight.
The Canadian goal was scored by Matthew Guest in the 50th minute, off a field attempt, and they did enough to hold onto the sli m lead for the remainder of the match for three points. As for Belgium, it was their second defeat, as they lost 2-1 to Argentina on Thursday.

Malaysia can improve

Sultan Azlan Shah and his Trophy at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.
Malaysian Sardars Kelvinder Singh (left) and Baljit Singh Charun (third from left) watching Canada v Belgium at the Azlan Shah Stadium.
MALAYSIA shocked the gallary with a superb display against Pakistan on Thursday, but none of the coaches or officials were the least surprised, because this is the true capability of this young team.
The national players were super fit, and their skills were far more supperiour than Pakistan, who are well known the world over for superb ball control and their ability to dribble out of tight spots with ease.
But on Thursday, one could be forgiven if he mistook Malaysia for Pakistan, for the national players did everything right, except score when presented with the opportunity.
The hightly entertaining match ended 3-2 in Pakistan's favour, but many feel that is not how it should have ended.
"This is what my team is capable of, and I am proud of them even in defeat. I only need to sharoen their scoring skills, and we will become a winning outfit," said national coach Sarjit Singh. However, the team was a total let-down when it mattered most -- the Japan Olympic Qualifiers.
"In Japan, we played two good matches. One was against Germany, and the other when we beat Poland for the bronze medal. In all the other matches, we had more than enough chances to win comfortably, but struggled to score even when presented with an open goalmouth," said Sarjit.
And that is why the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) is on the hunt for a foreign coach to sharpen the forwards scoring abilities, and another foreign coach to strenghten the defenders play in their own 25-yard. Sarjit, who will still be the chief coach, agrees that there is an urgen need for foreign expertise in these two departments.
"We are preparing this team for the Asia Cup next year (which is a qualifier for the 2010 Delhi World Cup), and the sooner we get foreign expertise, the better.
"The present batch of strikers are among the best I have seen for years, and the plan is to qualify for the World Cup from the Asia Cup itself, as qualifiers are becoming increasingly difficult to win nowdays," said Sarjit.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


New Zealand 4 India 3
Argentina 2 Belgium 1
Pakistan 3 Malaysia 2

TODAY -- Canada v Belgium (4pm), Pakistan v New Zealand (6pm), Argentina v India (8pm).


P W D L F A Pts

NEW ZEALAND 1 1 0 0 4 3 3
PAKISTAN 1 1 0 0 3 2 3
ARGENTINA 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
MALAYSIA 1 0 0 1 2 3 0
INDIA 1 0 0 1 3 4 0
BELGIUM 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
CANADA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Malaysia 2 Pakistan 3


MALAYSIA were the better team, but Pakistan rode on luck, to win 3-2 in the 17th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday. The home side displayed a level of hockey not seen the whole of this year, and Pakistan were forced to defend for more than 40 minutes but still, there were some poor finishing which will be lamented by the players in the days to come. However, the 3,000-odd crowd at the Azlan Shah Stadium appreciated the commitment from their players, and there were a round of cheers even though the team lost. Malaysia tore the Pakistan defense in the first minute itself, and Kelvinder Singh set the stadium on fire, when he deflected in a cross off a goalmouth melee. The Pakistanis protested, but umpire Devendra Patel stood his ground. And Malaysia almost made it 2-0 a few minutes later, but Amirullah Aziz's goal was disallowed. And there were plenty of close shaves after that. However, Pakistan equalised in the 22nd minute, off the second penalty corner, when Muhammad Ateeq's low flick sounded the board. But even before they could settle down, Malaysia went on the counter and earned a penalty corner. Amin Rahim made it 2-1 with a low flick in the 23rd minute, and the match started to open up. But Pakistan were in no mood to lose, and scored the equalsier again in the 28th minute. This time, it was a field effort from Shakeel Abbasi. Malaysia were in total control of the second half, as Pakistan struggled to hold back tide-after-tide of Malaysian strikers, and the only thing missing was finishing. As the minutes ticked by, Pakistan could only rely on rare counter attacks, and won two penalty corners, and the first was saved by first runner Baljit Singh Charun, but Muhammad Saqlain connected home the second one in the 60th minute, and Pakistan were in the lead for the first time in this match. Malaysia controlled the remaining minutes of the match, and earned a penalty corner with two minutes remining, but a kamikaze run from Pakistan saw Malaysia losing their opening encounter. In the curtain raiser, New Zealand edged India 4-3. India took a 2-0 lead off Sandeep Singh's penalty corners in the 14th and 20th minutes, but the Kiwis fought back to equalsie off Lloyd Stephenson (22nd) and Simon Child (22nd). New Zealand then surged ahead with goals off Phillip Burrows (45th) and Gareth Brooks (54th). Sandeep scored his hat-trick in the 60th minute, but the Kiwis held onto their slim lead for three points. "One can say that we have a new team after the change in management back home, and I am proud of the way they played today (yesterday). We only won three penalty corners, and scored all. This means Sandeep is back after a year's layoff," said India coach A.K. Bansal. New Zealand coach Shane McLeod was not happy with his penalty corner defense, but the three points were what his charges went in looking for. "It is always improtant to win in the first match, and we did just that. I believe we will improve further in this tournament." said McLeod. In another match, Argentina were the superior side, as they showcased fantastic skills to beat Belgium 2-1. Belgium had qualifierd for the Beijing Olympics, but played well below par. Argentina got their goals off Martin Sosa (33rd) and Tomas Argento (60th), while the Belgian scorer was Jerome Truyens (54th).