Thursday, May 13, 2010

India the only sure bet

P W D L F A Pts

MALAYSIA 6 3 2 1 17 9 11 +8
INDIA 5 3 1 1 14 13 10
KOREA 5 2 2 1 16 9 8 +7
PAKISTAN 5 2 2 1 22 16 8 +6
AUSTRALIA 5 2 2 1 16 12 8 +4
CHINA 5 1 1 3 12 15 4
EGYPT 5 0 0 5 3 26 0

RESULTS: Pakistan 6 Egypt 2, Australia 2 South Korea 2, China 1 Malaysia 2.
TOMORROW: Australia v China (4.04pm), South Korea v Pakistan (6.05pm), India v Egypt (8.05pm).

Malaysia keep fire burning

MALAYSIA stayed afloat, just above the nose, to play in the final of the
19th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, when they edged China 2-1 in a heavy drizzle
In an earlier match, South Korea fought a hard battle to hold World No 1
Australia to a 2-2 draw which opened up the tournament.
India are an almost a sure bet to claim one ticket to the final as they
have 10 points and a relatively easy match against Egypt to collect full
That leaves Malaysia, Australia, South Korea and Pakistan to claim the
second spot.
Malaysia have 11 points and +8 goals average, while Australia play
Egypt, and South Korea and Pakistan will be locked in battle on Saturday
with goals playing a crucial role in their progress or regress.
So, the national players needed to score as many goals as possible in
their last match against China, but for the first 10 minutes, they were at the
receiving end as China won four penalty corner attempts, with one even
hitting the bar.
Malaysia came out of their shell after that but it was a tale of near mises
as the forwards were blunt with their attempts, and the score was still 0-0
after 20 minutes.
A better organised Malaysia finally broke their penalty corner duck in the
25th minute but messed up the stopping, and let China off the hook again.
The second penalty corner, in the 33rd minute, also went to waste as
Amin Rahim's push to Azlan Misron was poorly trapped.
And it was the same with the third penalty corner, won with three
seconds on the clock, which saw Amin's push hit the knee of Hafifihafiz
Hanafi, instead of his hockey stick, in yet another bungled set-piece,
The second half saw a recharged Malaysian side which went looking for
an early goal and found it off their fourth prenalty corner in the 37th
This time, Amin Rahim took matters into his own hands and a powerful
low flick beat goalkeeper Su Rifeng and his effort received a defeaning
cheer from the gallery.
The goal also brough down a heavy drizzle but the crowd did not budge
from their open-air seats, as they continued chering on the national
The heavy pitch slowed down the match to a trickle, as Malaysia looked
like they were reeling from their punishing 5-2 win against India the
previous day.
And the unthinkable happened in the 56th minute when Liu Yixian
flicked in the equaliser off a penalty corner attempt.
However, it failed to douse the Malaysian fire, and with eight minutes
remaining, Madzli Ikmar's hit from the half-line found Azlan Misron who
scored with a reverse stick attempt, and gave them a glimmer of hope.