Thursday, November 25, 2010

Silver, after seven bronze

Ace drag flicker Sohail Abbas and veteran Rehan Butt helped Pakistan regain Asian Games field hockey gold after 20 years with a 2-0 victory over Malaysia in the final on Thursday.
Abbas netted a powerful push off 26th-minute short corner while Butt was brilliantly set up by Shafqat Rasool from the right side to place the ball off the second attempt in the 38th.
“With so many bad things happening in Pakistan, like terrorism and floods I think today we have given our countrymen something to smile,” Abbas, 35, said.
Malaysian players had shaved their heads to ward off evil spirits in their first Asian Games final. But their penalty corner specialist Amin Rahim could not find the target off the three short corners.
Pakistan’s last Asian Games gold came in 1990 at Beijing, and the win here was Pakistan’s first major title since winning the World Cup in 1994.
“It’s simply out of this world for me and I have no words to describe how much happy all of us are,” said jubilant Pakistan captain Zeeshan Ashraf, 33, who stood firm in the defense.
The victory also secured Pakistan a spot at the 2012 London Olympics and Ashraf said that was the other target which was achieved by senior players.
“I think it’s now the right time that more juniors should come into the team,” he said. “Twenty years is a long gap and it would be jubilation everywhere in Pakistan.”
Abbas said he had no intentions to quit and if he stayed fit he would be in London in two years.
“Age is no barrier for a hockey player, fitness is what that counts and who knows if I stay fit I will be there,” he said.
Pakistan goalkeeper Salman Akbar threw his helmet and hockey stick in the air soon after the final hooter was blown as Pakistan players rushed and hugged each other.
They even raised their coach Michel van den Heuvel and manager former Olympian Khawaja Junaid on their shoulders and chanted slogans “Pakistan Zindabad (long live)” in unison.
They carried national flags in their hands and also approached a handful of fans at the Aoti Hockey Stadium stand to thank them for their support.
Malaysia’s striker Faizal Saari was disappointed with his team’s loss, but said it was good to have its first silver in 12 Asian Games after winning six bronze medals.
“We played disappointing game today and of course expectations were high back home after we defeated India in the semifinal,” he said.
Earlier, India clinched the bronze, defeating South Korea 1-0 on Tushar Khandker’s field goal in the 39th minute.

Silver for Malaysia

Men's Final: Pakistan 2 (Sohail Abbas 26, Rehan Butt 38) Malaysia 0 H-t: 1-0
Bronze medal match: India 1 (Tushar Khandekar 39) South Korea 0

Golden boy for S. Kumar

By S.S. Dhaliwal

A month ago his father passed away while Kumar was in between the posts for Malaysia against Scotland at the Commonwealth Games.
This time around while Kumar was on the pitch, doing his nation proud by keeping at bay the Induan attack in the semis of the Asian Games, his wife went into labour and delivered their baby boy.
Indeed Kumar has put nation over self during times his family needed him. A true example of a sportsman, the best we have known in recent times.
Congrats Kumar and to the team we salute you , let's win this for the 1 Nalaysia spirit

Malaysian Hockey blogspot

India snatch bronze from Korea

FORMER champions India returned to the Asian Games men’s hockey podium after missing out four years ago when they defeated favourites South Korea 1-0 in the bronze medal play-off on Thursday.
Tushar Khandekar netted the winner four minutes into the second session as India dominated the lacklustre Koreans through the 70-minute encounter at the Aoti Hockey Centre.
India had not won an Asiad hockey medal for the first time at the 2006 Doha Games and paid the price when they failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics two years ago.
The eight-time Olympic champions had bagged Asian Games titles in 1966 and 1998.
India’s Spanish coach Jose Brasa, who contract is up for renewel after this match, said the bronze medal was not a just reward for his team.
“I think we were the best side in the competition, winning five of our six matches,” said Brasa. “I can’t say I am happy, but at least the boys will not return home empty-handed.” India, who won all their four league matches, were knocked out by a Malaysian golden goal in the semi-final.
South Korea, winners at the last two editions in Busan and Doha, were denied a hat-trick when they lost to Pakistan in a penalty shoot-out in the other semi-final.
The last time the Koreans finished fourth was in Beijing in 1990.

Rahim's super show

DESPAIR AND DELIGHT: India's Dhananjay Mahadik (right) is dejected as the Malaysians celebrate after the 'golden goal' took their team to the final.

Malaysia scripted a new page in the hockey history of the Asian Games on Tuesday. With a display that underlined the essence of fortitude, it sunk India's hopes of taking the only qualifying spot available for the London Olympics in 2012 with a 4-3 verdict that surfaced off a ‘golden goal'.
It is a pity that India should end the game at the altar of defeat. Actually, the team produced a few incandescent spells, recovered from a goal deficit, scored two brilliant field goals and led until the clock showed three minutes to the end.
In came the lethal striker, Rahim Amin, to demolish India. He pumped in a perfect grounder for the equaliser, pushed the match to extra-time, and produced another impeccable shot to send the Malaysian supporters and players into a delirium of delight.
This is Malaysia's first entry into the final where it will take on Pakistan on Thursday. Pakistan edged out the defending champion South Korea in the penalty shoot-out.
The impromptu scenes of joy by the Malaysians were well deserved for the outfit had taken on the might of the Koreans, Chinese and now the Indians to march into the final.
It was Malaysia that struck first from Tenku Abdul Jalil from a solo effort making capital out of poor defensive work. But the Indians rallied well, thanks to some fluent runs by Tushar Khandekar and Rajpal Singh utilising the wing crosses from Gurbaj Singh. Sandeep Singh produced a superbly driven penalty corner for the equaliser before half-time.
From then on, India had everything rolling for it. When Tushar Khandekar scored off a cross from Shivendra minutes resumption, it looked as though India was on the right lane, synthesising the attack and the defenders. As always, Halappa from the midfield contributed his share as did Sardar Singh at the back.
Fighting the issue tooth and nail, Malaysia exerted pressure and restored parity when Aslan Misron deflected a penalty corner push by Rahim Amin.
India surged ahead again with Rajpal Singh jabbing a rebound from goalkeeper Kumar from a penalty corner hit by Mahadik. The team had just then substituted Sandeep Singh who was not on the field for two penalty corners.
Needlessly inviting stress by allowing the ball to be rolled around, India conceded a penalty corner, three minutes before the end.
Rahim breathed life back into the Malaysian squad with a thundering penalty corner drive and came off with a spectacular penalty corner ‘golden goal' to become part of the moment that will be etched for years in Malaysia's hockey folklore.
A sombre looking chief coach, Jose Brasa, admitted that the team played very well but made mistakes at crucial stages. The players, naturally, were dejected and left the field without even moving in to the mixed zone to face the TV cameras, which they were doing with great relish till Monday.
Korea loses

Korea's search for a third gold medal in a row ended on an agonising note when Pakistan dethroned the defending champion in the sudden death. The man who shattered the dream for Korea was the veteran goalkeeper Salman Akbar.
When he blocked a flick from Yeo Woon Koon in the sudden death, the moment signalled victory for Pakistan which has not won a gold medal since 1990 at Beijing.
The teams were 1-1 at the end of the regulation time and no goal was added in the extra-time.
It was a tension packed match. Both the teams stretched the note of caution beyond an agreeable limit .The consequence was the lack of fizz in the contest. However, none can deny that Pakistan was a shade better.
Zubair Muhammad led the attack with confidence with support from Shafqat Rasool. But credit should also go to the defenders, Zeeshan Ashraff and Imran Muhammad, apart from the goalkeeper who was confidence personified in the tie breaker, and, understandably, ended as the hero of the Pakistani supporters.
The Koreans were unusually slow. The penalty corners were badly handled. In fact, a corner flunked by poor stoppage gave Pakistan a chance to counter attack. Zubair launched the move and Waqas hit the target.
Korea scored early in the second half through Kang Moonkyu who deflected a cross from Jong Janghyun.
The contest moved into extra time amidst all round excitement and then to sudden death during which Salman Akbar rose to the occasion.

The Hindu