Sunday, May 17, 2009

South Korea in the World Cup

THE BEST IN ASIA: South Koreans edge Pakistan 1-0 for a ticket to play in the 2010 World Cup.

By Ajitpal Singh

KIM Byung Hoon's trademark penalty corner flick help South Korea edge Pakistan 1-0 to win the 8th AirAsia Men's Asia Cup and also claiming the automatic berth to next year's World Cup.

Byung Hoon, whose two earlier penalty corner attempts were foiled by Pakistan goalkeeper Salman Akhbar, sent a powerful drive into the net in the 66th minute to ensure victory.
It is their third Asia Cup title after having won it in 1993 (Hiroshima) and 1999 (Kuala Lumpr).
Korea coach Cho Myung Jun took a risk by not naming four key players including main flicker Jang Jong Hyun for the tournament.
Despite their absence, the Koreans, the World No 5, were a class above the other teams.
As for Myung Jun, it was his first international assignment as the head coach of the Korean team.
"We had a good tournament here. Overall, our tactical edge have us the advantage against the other teams. We are happy to earn the World Cup,"said Myung Jun yesterday.
Pakistan earned back-to-back penalty corners in the opening minutes but flicker Sohail Abbas failed to make both count.
Korea goalkeeper Lee Myung Ho denied Pakistan two golden opportunities from Muhd Tariq and Rehan Butt in the23rd and 35th minutes, respectively.
As for Korea, they hardly penetrated into Pakistan's semi-circle in the first half.
However, the Koreans started second half furiously and attacked relentlessly at the Pakistan goal. They earned two penalty corners but both attempts by Kim Byung Hoon failed to find the needed goal. Byung Hoon eventually scored the winner in the 66th minute.

Shoot-out heartbreak

By Ajitpal Singh

IN an action packed match, China edged Malaysia 7-6 on penalty strokes yesterday to claim the bronze medal in the 8th AirAsia Men's Asia Cup.

The match had ended 3-3 after 84 dramatic minutes, including extra time at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium in Kuantan.
It was heartbreak for Malaysia when Nabil Fiqri Mohd Nor failed to convert his attempt while China's Sun Tian Jun duly converted his sudden death penalty stroke. China had also won the bronze medal in 1982 in Karachi.
Earlier, the teams were deadlocked at 3-3 in the shoot-out. Lu Feng Hui and Tain Jun saw their penalty attempts saved by Malaysia goalkeeper S. Kumar but Malaysia missed through Nabil Fiqri and Kelvinder Singh.
Malaysia had led three times during the match and should have won it in regulation time.
Malaysia coach Tai Beng Hai said: "My players fought hard but had no luck. It is anyone's game when the match goes into penalty strokes. My players did practise their flicks."
China coach Guo Jie said: "My players played a simple defend and attack game."
Malaysia opened account 50 seconds after the start with a superb goal that needed only six passes that resulted in Ismail Abu scoring with a delightful reverse stick attempt.
But China struck back in the 18th minute when umpire Fernando Gomez of Argentina awarded a penalty stroke when keeper S. Kumar brought down Liu Xian Tang. Captain Song Yi converted from the spot.
Forward Chua Boon Huat put Malaysia ahead again in the 31st minute when he guided the ball past China goalkeeper Su Ri Feng.
China pulled level in the 47th minute when Song Yi's powerful low drive, off a penalty corner, went past keeper Kumar.
The Malaysian players worked hard again and in the 64th minute was rewarded when Nabil Fiqri Mohd Nor gave his team a 3-2 lead with a field attempt.
However, the lead lasted only three minutes as China hit back through Jiang Xi Shang when he deflected the ball into the Malaysian net after a goalmouth melee.

BJSS looking forward to Army assault

BUKIT Jalil Sports School (BJSS) coach S. Prakash is looking forward to the tough encounters against Army sides in Division One of the Malaysia Hockey League.

Prakash feels his charges, who are mainly Under-17 boys, need tough matches, to turn the schoolboys into men.
"We will be playing a university side (UNIMAP) tomorrow (today) and I expect it to be a good exposure for my young side.
"However, the plus point for us in Division One this season is that we will get a chance to play many Army outfits, who are always hardworking and robust, and it will do us good in the long run," said Prakash.
Armed Forces Airod, Armed Forces Juniors, Dolphins and Air Force are the military teams who BJSS would cherish to play against.
"The university sides (UNIMAP and UiTM), based from past experiences are normally not tactically sound, but I can't comment much at this stage, as I have yet to see them play this season."
BJSS came back from a 3-0 deficit to hold Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS) to a draw in their first match on Friday, but their real test will be against the Army and state outfits from Malacca and Perak.
TODAY: Bandar Penawar Sports School v Dolphins (Bandar Penawar, 5pm), Armed Forces Airod v Malacca City Council (Tun Razak Stadium, 7pm), Bukit Jalil Sports School v UNIMAP (National Hockey Stadium Pitch II, 3pm), UiTM v Air Force (Pandamaran Stadium, 5pm).