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.