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.