Sunday, July 26, 2009

Malaysia defeat Kookaburras for the first time since 1994

MALAYSIA 1 KOOKABURRAS 0 (0-0 half time) Goals – Rahim 52m PC

The Kookaburras have suffered their first defeat to Malaysia since 1994, going down 1-0 tonight in Adelaide.

The first half played out in complete contrast to last night’s 8-1 victory to the Kookaburras, with Malaysia playing a much better brand of hockey. This saw them maintain their fair share of possession throughout the midfield, while also bolstering their defensive structure.

With the Malaysians playing full of confidence and with a defensive mindset, the Kookaburras had initial difficulties in penetrating their circle.

After several minutes of fast paced hockey, it was Malaysia who emerged with the first genuine shot on goal via a penalty corner attempt. However, thanks to some good work by goalkeeper Nathan Burgers, the shot was denied and cleared from the Kookaburras defence.

Determined to regain last nights winning formula the Kookaburras lifted towards the end of the half, with striker Eli Matheson coming agonisingly close to scoring the Kookaburras first goal in his 50th match only to be denied by the Malaysian goalkeeper.

When Jivan Mohan received a yellow card at the 25 minute mark Malaysia found themselves a player short, however the Kookaburras were unable to capitalise and the match entered the half time break drawn at 0-0.

The Kookaburras appeared likely to open the scoring early in the second half after earning two penalty corners. However once again the Malaysian defence proved too strong.

The goals continued to be hard to come by throughout the second half, with both teams having chances including South Australian local Grant Schubert who was unable to finish off what appeared to be a certain goal.

Malaysia made the Kookaburras pay soon after, with Muhammad Amin Rahim converting a goal from their first penalty corner of the second half to take the lead much to the surprise of the Adelaide crowd.

The Kookaburras, desperate to force their way back into the game, stepped up a gear in a bid to at least force a draw. However despite generating some genuine opportunities, the Australians just couldn’t manage to find the back of the net.

When Malaysia received their second yellow card of the night at the 66 minute mark it appeared as though the Kookaburras had their best opportunity yet to capitalise.

When they received a penalty corner with only a minute left on the clock it loomed to be their last chance to level the score.

However following the trend of the night, the goals just didn’t flow of the Kookaburras, with a David Guest flick deflecting off the goalkeeper and into the cross bar.

Grant Schubert, in his 150th international match, said the team was obviously disappointed with the result however will look to improve.

”Obviously we didn’t get the result we were after, however we will take away more from this game that we did from last nights win. We had lots of chances but the difference between tonight’s game and last night’s is that we just couldn’t put them away,” said Schubert.

The Kookaburras will now travel to Canberra where they will take on Malaysia, Canada and Australia A with the matches beginning on Wednesday 29 July.

Johor lift under-23 title

NOR Hafiq Ghaffar’s hat-trick against Malacca handed Johor the National Under-23 title at the Bukit Serindit Stadium yesterday.
And in the bronze battle, Project 2013 edged Kuala Lumpur 3-2 to stand tall on the podium.
Johor took a 2-0 lead, before Malacca equalised, but with one minute remaining in the match, Junior World Cup player Nor Hafiq delivered his third penalty corner goal to shut out the hosts.
“We only had one days training before travelling to Malac ca, and I am happy that the boys delivered with great understanding in all the matches,” said Johor coach Sarjit Singh.
Malacca coach G. Ravindran rues his skipper’s missed sitter, which could have taken the match into extra-time.
“Nazmi (Kamaruddin) had beaten the Johor goalkeeper and only needed to tap the ball in, but shot wide. It could have turned the tide in the extra-time.
“However, our target was to play in the final, and I am happy that my players delivered against more experienced opponents,” said Ravindran.
Nor Hafiq scored in the 8th, 28th and 69th minutes, while the Malacca goals were delivered by Raihan Azahar (48th) and Amirullah Zainul (50th).
The National Under-23 saw 10 teams competing with seven Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) affiliates staying away.
The seven absentees are Perlis, Kedah, Selangor, Police, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak.
RESULTS: Final -- Malacca 2 Johor 3; Third-Fourth: Project 2013 2 Kuala Lumpur 2 (Project win on golden goal).
ROLL-OF-HONOUR: Best Goalkeeper: Hakim Adnan (Kuala Lumpur); Top Scorer: Nor Hafiq Ghaffar (seven goals, Johor); Best Player of Tournament: Nazmi Kamaruddin (Malacca); Man of the match: Nor Hafiq Ghaffar (Johor); Fair- play: Penang.