Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thunderbolts comfortable, UniKL close shave..

SSTMI Thunderbolts virtually qualified for the final of the Junior Hockey League Milo Cup when they hit MBI Anderson of Ipoh 5-2 in the first leg semi-finals at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
UniKL Young Guns also came back from the dead to win 3-1, to keep themselves on track for a final appearance.
However, both the semi-finals looked like they were heading for upsets, when Anderson took a 2-1 lead against Thunderbolts, while Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) also drew first blood against UniKL.
Thunderbolts, who whitewashed Andersons 6-0 in the League, took matters for granted after Khairol Shafik scored in the 12th minute.
Anderson returned the favour when skipper Najib Hassan scored off a penalty corner set-piece.
Azril Misron then made it 2-1 in the 22nd minute but Sufi Ismat equalised at 2-2 in the 24th and the score remained until the breather.
However, Thunderbolts showed why they were crowned the League champions when they when the sealed the semi-finals with three goals within 10 minutes when Sufi Ismat scored in the 38th minute before skipper Shazril Irwan Nazli made it 4-2 with a goal in the 40th minute. Sufi completed his hat-trick in the 45th minute to make it 5-2.
BJSS shocked UniKL when Azrul Hasbullah scored in the run of play in the 13th minute in pouring rain. But the joy was shortlived, when UniKL's Haziq Samsul scored in the 34th minute.
After the breather, UniKL retook the lead off Hafiz Zainol in the 40th minute and a third goal from Syafiq Zulzairin in the 65th minute gave them some breathing space for the return leg.
Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan was himself shocked with the way his team played in the first half.
"There was a total lack of understanding between the midfield and forwardline, and when BJSS scored it rattled my players further. However, they came back strongly after the breather, and now we are looking forward to seal the return leg early to avoid unnecessary pressure," said Wan Roslan.
Thunderbolts only had two penalty corners yesterday but JHL top-scorer Shahril Saabah failed to increase his tally which stands at 15.
"We scored five field goals today (yesterday) and misse both penalty corner opportunities. This must be arrested early in the return leg
to avoid second half pressure." said Wan Roslan.
RESULTS -- Semi-finals, first leg: SSTMI-Thunderbolts 5 MBI Anderson 2, Bukit Jalil SS 1 UniKL 3.
FRIDAY -- Semi-finals, return leg: UniKL v Bukit Jalil SS (5pm), MBI Anderson v SSTMI Thunderbolts (7.30pm).
(All semi-final matches at Pitch II of the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thunderbolts earn bragging rights..

THUNDER, Thunder..Thunderbolts! With their JHL League title in Johor Baru.

FIRHAN Ashaari's timely inclusion has given League champions Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts the bragging rights to finally land a Junior Hockey League double this season.
Thunderbolts, who mutated from title-less Bandar Penawar Sports School, won the Overall title last season, but lost the League title battle to UniKL Young Guns.
It was the same in 2010, when Thunderbolts won the League title, but lost the Overall fight against UniKL.
And this year, Thunderbolts wrestled the League title from UniKL Young Guns on a goals scored average after both teams ended tied 1-1.
"We thumped all the teams in the League, except for the 1-1 draw aginst UniKL, so I feel this team is finally ready to claim the JHL double this season.
"And with Firhan back in the fold, our scoring machine will move a few rungs higher in the Milo Cup knock-out," said Thuderbolts coach Wan Roslan.
Firhan was listed by Thunderbolts when JHL entries closed, but he was immediately drafted into the senior national side and did not play a single league match.
"After the Dublin Qualifier team was named and Firhan did not make the cut, he played his first match for Thunderbolts in the second leg quarter-finals (against Petaling Jaya Municipal Council) and scored two goals," said Wan Roslan.
Nineteen-years-old Firhan's grueling training with the big boys as well as all the tours and friendlies he played in the run-up to the Olympic Qualifiers, has given Thunderbolts an extra edge which should see them easily overcome MBI Anderson.
For the record, MBI Anderson lost 6-0 to Thunderbolts in the league, however, the Ipoh side surprised Sapura with their fighting spirit in the quarter-finals.
As for UniKL, they will have to bring our their best against Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) in the other semi-finals. If the league encounter is taken as a yardstick, where UniKL could only beat BJSS 3-2, this match will remain interesting until the return leg.
"We still have not forgotten the League encounter against BJSS where we almost squandered the match. So, I believe even with out their skipper (Ahmad Ashraf Alias who picked up a yellow card in the second leg quarter-finals for deliberately stopping the ball with his foot) BJSS cannot be taken lightly," said UniKL manager Amir Azhar.
TODAY -- Semi-finals, first leg: SSTMI-Thunderbolts v MBI Anderson (5pm), Bukit Jalil SS v UniKL (7pm).
FRIDAY -- Semi-finals, return leg: UniKL v Bukit Jalil SS (5pm), MBI Anderson v SSTMI Thunderbolts (7.30pm).
(All semi-final matches at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil).

Monday, February 27, 2012

South African women hit jackpot

Investec SA hockey captain Marsha Marescia with the OQT trophy. Photo: AFSAR BEG

A fired-up Investec South Africa women’s hockey team beat India 3-1 after leading 2-0 at half-time in the final of the Olympic Qualifier Tournament at New Delhi’s National Stadium Saturday.
South Africa’s Shelley Russell scored in the first half with Pietie Coetzee and Player of the Tournament Marsha Marescia getting second half goals. Jaspreet Kaur replied towards the end for India.
SA are now the 10th of 12 teams to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
For India it was their first chance to reach an Olympic Games since 1980 while SA were attempting to qualify for their fourth in a row.
In the third minute SA left-side midfielder Russell pounced on a ball drifting invitingly across the strike zone, beat a defender and slipped the ball past goalkeeper Yogita Bali (1-0).
There were turnovers aplenty as play drifted back and forth for 10 minutes before Rani Rampal brought a save from keeper Mariette Rix in the 16th minute.. Then SA captain Marescia made an important tackle on the Indian sharpshooter as she attempted to enter the scoring zone five minutes later.
In the 23rd minute Coetzee was body checked in the 23-metre area and umpire Soledad Iparraguirre of Argentina awarded SA’s first PC, which was not well executed.
Tensions were high and mistakes were many but Russell’s skill won SA’s second PC with seven minutes left to the break. Coetzee’s drag-flick flew over the crossbar. SA won a third PC soon after and the world record goalscorer went low past the keeper for her 233rd goal in 238 Test matches.
Trailing 1-0, India started the second half strongly and double Olympians Kate Woods and Marescia (Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008) made several vital tackles and interventions before SA won their fourth PC, which Bali saved from Coetzee. At the other end Devi Thokchom could have made more of two chances in quick succession, the second a straight one-on-one which Rix kept out.
With 19 left Sulette Damons made ground and strike partner Coetzee saw her effort bobble against the post but the fifth PC followed and Coetzee’s flick found Marescia’s outstretched stick for the deflection into the net (3-0).
India hit back immediately and Jaspreet Kaur made certain with her team’s second PC, the ball slamming into the backboard (3-1) but it was never going to be enough.
Bonnet has been in charge for 20 months and in that time almost 100 Test matches have been played, several overseas tours undertaken and home series undergone, plus the countless hours of training, planning, video sessions and more. All to earn entry into the London 2012 Olympic Games in five months’ time.

BJSS shoot themselve in foot

BUKIT Jalil Sports School (BJSS) have been improving with every match, but their skipper shot himself in the foot on Sunday, and they will now find their Milo Cup first leg semi- finals against UniKL a harrowing experience on Wednes day.
The five-time double champions lost two matches in the League, 5-1 against SSTMI Thunderbolts and 3-2 against UniKL, while their unnecessary draw was 2-2 against Tunku Besar Secondary School of Tampin.
And in the semis, they will be playing without their skipper Ahmad Ashraf Alias who picked up a yellow card in the second leg quarter-finals for deliberately stopping the ball with his foot to break a Malacca High School (MHS) counter attack.
Ahmad regretted the incident, and will watch from the stands as his mates sweat it out in the first leg.
“As captain of a sports school the team, I should not have done that, and I apologise to my teammates for not being able to help them in a crucial match” said Ahmad, who started playing with the BJSS Juniors outfit in 2006 and graduated to the senior ranks as skipper this season.
“We narrowly lost to UniKL (3-2) in the league and my absence will further weaken our defence. It will also affect our penalty corner battery as I am the main stopper,” said said Ahmad
BJSS qualified for the semi-finals when they trounced MHS 9-2 on aggregate in the quarter-finals while UniKL, who won the overall title in 2010, also reached the semis by a 9-2 aggregate against USM Juniors.
Sports School team manager Jusvinder Pal Singh said they warned Ahmad before the match to stay away from cards, and regretted fielding him in the return leg as they already had a 6-1 advantage after the first encounter.
“It was a silly thing to do, as he should not have kicked the ball deliberately. However, we have capable replacements to cover Ahmad’s vacuum, and I expect a close match like in the League,” said Jusvinder.
Division One champions Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts will face MBI Anderson in the other semi-finals.


SSTMI-Thunderbolts v MBI-Anderson (5pm), Bukit Jalil SS v UniKL (7pm).
March 2 -- Semi-finals return leg: UniKL v Bukit Jalil SS (5pm), MBI Anderson v SSTMI Thunderbolts (7.30pm).
(All semi-final matches at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil).

Indian dream lives again

India's Sandeep Singh celebrates with Shivendra Singh after scoring a goal during the Olympic qualifier Hockey match against France at National Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: S. Subramanium.

By Y.B. Sarangi, The Hindu

Final standings: 1. India, 2. France, 3. Canada, 4. Poland, 5. Italy, 6. Singapore.

RESULTS: Final: India 8 (Birendra Lakra 17; Sandeep Singh 19, 26, 38, 49, 51; S.V. Sunil 43; V.R. Raghunath 56) bt France 1 (Simon Martin-Brisac 24).
Third place playoff: Canada 4 (Ken Pereira 4, 51; Rob Short 27; Matt Guest 41) bt Poland 3 (Artur Mikula 9; Szymon Oszyjczyk 28; Bartosz Zywiczka 52).
Fifth place playoff: Italy 5 (Daniele Malta 28; Andrea Corsi 33; Agustin Nunez 42; Ignacio Salas 47, 58) bt Singapore 0.

THE methodical approach and the rock solid self-belief of the Michael Nobbs-coached Indian hockey team finally paid off as the side capped its chain of sterling performances in the Olympic qualifier with a thumping 8-1 win over France in the final.
The title victory at the National Stadium here on Sunday not only ensured the return of the Indian team to the Olympics after the 2004 Athens Games, but also healed the wounds of the four-year-old ‘Chile horror' when the country had failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 80 years.
It also helped lessen the home fans' disappointment arising out of the women team's failure in making the trip to London.
The Indian players exulted in joy and gathered in a victory huddle when the clock completed its 70-minute countdown. It was a relief of lifetime for the six current players — Bharat Chetri, V.R. Raghunath, Shivendra Singh, Tushar Khandker, Sardar Singh and Ignace Tirkey — who were part of India's failed attempt to make the Olympics in 2008.
Sandeep Singh netted five goals, including his second hat-trick of the tournament, while Birendra Lakra, S.V. Sunil and V.R. Raghunath found the mark to record the superb victory in front of thousands of Tricolour-waving spectators.
Simon Martin-Brisac was the lone scorer for the runner-up team. France had already exceeded its expectations by making the final at the expense of the higher-ranked Canada.
In the action-packed first period, India overcame stiff resistance from the fast moving Frenchmen to pump in two spectacular goals in quick succession. Lakra completed a superb cross from Manpreet Singh on the right with a blazing reverse hit to open the account in the 17th minute.
The second goal came in dramatic circumstances with Shivendra Singh, pushed inside the French circle, successfully appealing for a penalty corner through video referral and Sandeep accomplishing the task with his trademark drag-flick.
France pulled one back through a surprise move as Sebastian Jean-Jean's on-the-run shot was deflected in by Martin-Brisac with his back to the Indian goal.
Sandeep scored from the host's third short corner and India kept its two-goal lead intact at the break with another successful referral which snatched away a penalty corner awarded to France, which built immense pressure on the host's defence with some fierce counter-attacks.
Sandeep converted the third consecutive penalty corner to make it 4-1 in the 38th minute. Led by a brilliant P.R. Sreejesh under the bar, India thwarted four penalty corners in a row.
Several bouts of frayed tempers and tough tackles from the Frenchmen could not stop the home forwards from going on a rampage and snuffing life out of the opposition.
Sandeep scored two more goals to complete his rare feat of five goals in a final. With 16 goals in the event, he emerged as the top scorer of the tournament.
Canada beat Poland 4-3 to take the third place, while Italy thrashed Singapore 5-0 for the fifth position.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

MBI Anderson in semi-finals

MBI Anderson came back strongly in the second leg Milo Cup quarter-finals to beat Sapura 2-0 to set up a semis date with league champions SSTMI Thunderbolts.
The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw, but the Ipoh school team beat a fighting Sapura with goals from Ashran Hamsani in the 54th and Najib Hassan in the 63rd minute.
However, the semi-finals will be an uphill task for Anderson, as they lost 6-0 to Thunderbolts in the league.
Yesterday, Thunderbolts beat Petaling Jaya Municipal Council 4-0, to win 11-1 on aggregate.
Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) also qualified for the semi-finals after they beat Malacca High School (MHS) 3-1 in the return leg for a 9-2 aggregate win.
BJSS will now meet UniKL in the two-leg semi-finals on Wednesday and Friday.
UniKL also beat USM Juniors 3-1 in the return leg, for an 9-2 aggregate win.
Yesterday, BJSS took matters easy, as they had a 6-1 cushion from the first leg, and scored off Noor Khairul Adnan in the fifth minute. However, MHS equalised when Zulamirul Akmal in the 23rd minute before BJSS scored two more goals off Redzhwan Jaafar in the 23rd and Fitri Ismail in the 68th.
USM Juniors scored in the 42nd minute off Abdul Muhaimin Aziz who converted a penalty stroke but UniKL equalised when Syafiq Zulzairin scored in the 58th minute while Hafiz Zainol scored two late goals in the 65th and 69th minutes to seal the win.
"We already had a healthy lead after the first leg and there was no need to push the players today (yesterday). The semi-finals (against UniKL) will be a touch-and-go match, as I believe both the teams have players capable of turning the tables when presented with opportunity," said BJSS manager Jusvinder Pal Singh.

RESULTS -- Quarter-finals, Second Leg:
Bukit Jalil Sports School 3 Malacca High School 1 (BJSS win on 9-2 aggragate)
USM Juniors 1 UniKL Young Guns 3 (UniKL win on 9-2 aggregate)
Petaling Jaya Municipal Council 0 SSTMI Thunderbolts 4 (Thunderbolts win on 11-1 aggregate)
MBI Anderson 2 Sapura 0 (Anderson win on 3-1 aggregate).


SSTMI-Thunderbolts v Sapura/MBI-Anderson (5pm), Bukit Jalil SS vs UniKL (7pm).
March 2 -- Semi-finals return leg: UniKL vs Bukit Jalil SS (5pm), Sapura/MBI Anderson v SSTMI Thunderbolts (7.30pm).
(All semi-final matches at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sapura walking on thin ice

WITH three foregone conclusions, the return leg of the Milo Cup Junior Hockey League knock-out stage spotlight will be on the Sapura and MBI Anderson match at the Kuala Lumpur HA Stadium today.
Sapura, highly touted to seal a comfortable win in the first leg after an impressive show in Division One, could only hold MBI Anderson to a 1-1 draw.
They were a pale shadow of the unbeaten team which lifted the Division Two title by scoring 42 goals and letting on only two in Group A.
In comparison, MBI Anderson struggled in Division One, and finished fourth after scoring 28 goals and letting in a massive 27.
League champions SSTMI Thunderbolts are cruising on the road to semi-finals after they hammered Petaling Jaya Municipal Council 7-1, while UniKL Young Guns’ run is also unstoppable after they beat USM Juniors 6-1.
Bukit Jalil Sports School have also firmly rooted themselves in the semi-finals after a 6-1 show against Malacca High School.
“It was simply amazing on how my players muffed four sitters to make their return leg an uphill battle. I can’t even call the misses unlucky, because even novice players could have scored off those situations,” lamented Sapura coach I. Vickneswaran.
And with two players suspended from the second leg after picking up eight demerit points, Sapura will miss Fadzli Zulkifli and Farid Zuki today.
“The situation does not look favourable, but I have plans on how to make amends on Sunday, and hopefully, the players stick to my game-plan,” said Vickneswaran.
Another unhappy official was UniKL Young Guns’s manager Amir Azhar.
“The win (6-1) look comfortable enough, but I am not satisfied with the way my team played in the first leg. They were floating in and out of the match, and all the departments were not at their best.
“We can’t afford this kind of attitude in the remaining knock-out matches, if we want to lay hands on the Milo Cup,” said Amir.
UniKL will also miss the services of Haniff Saidin, while BJSS’ Norshafiq Sumantri and PJCC’s Faiz Haiqal will not see action in the return leg due to demerit points.
TODAY -- Second Leg: Bukit Jalil Sports School (6) v Malacca High School (1) (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 4pm), USM Juniors (1) v UniKL Young Guns (6) (KLHA, 4pm), Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (1) v SSTMI Thunderbolts (7) (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 6pm), MBI Anderson (1) v Sapura (1) (KLHA, 6pm).
Note: First leg scores in parenthesis.

A toss between India and France

France 1 Canada 1..
India 4 Poland: 2 (half-time: 1-1)

Italy 4 Singapore 0


India was already qualified for the Final on Sunday, but Poland could still overtake France for the second berth in the Final with a win or a tie tonight.
India was all over Poland in the first fifteen minutes of play, peppering the Polish goal left and right but without reaching the target, or denied by an excellent Mariusz Chyla in the Polish goal.
Poland held tight and surprised the Indian defense on their first attack, earning a penalty-corner. They used an excellent option, Miroslaw Juszczak faking the shot before sliding the ball to Tomasz Dutkiewicz who slammed it in goal over the head of a ducking defender.
India immediately resumed their outrageous domination, but could not capitalize on their multiple chances, including on a number of penalty-corners.
It is only in the 25th minute that Sandeep Singh finally managed a decent attempt, slotting his flick high in the net over Mariusz Chyla.
Indian goal-keeper (and captain) Bharat Chetri nearly thumbled a ball in the dying second of the period, much to the displeasure of his defenders, but half-time was reached on the tied score (1-1) which, if standing until the end, would allow Poland to grab the second Final berth from France.
India continued their incredible series of narrow misses and miss-trapping of penalty-corners in second period, much to the growing concern of the crowd.
Finally Shivendra Singh deflected the ball from a position where it would have been difficult to miss the goal, giving a narrow lead to India. However, Poland immediately forced a penalty-corner and scored on a passive Indian defense by Miroslaw Juszczak to tie the score again at 2-2!
Raghunath Vokkaliga Ramachandra replaced Sandeep Singh on the next penalty-corner and gave back the lead to India, forcing Poland to throw caution to the wind to score again, but it was India who scored the final goal, with a penalty-corner in the final second of the match.
The final win for India (4-2) allows France to stay ahead of Poland in the standings. The Final will therefore be between India and France, while Poland will play Canada for 3rd place.
Player of the Match was Mariusz Chyla, goal-keeper for Poland.
Schedule for Sunday February 26:
15h00: (5th-6th) Italy vs. Singapore
17h30: (3rd-4th) Poland vs. Canada
20h00: (Final) India vs.France (winner qualifies for 2012 Olympic Games in London)

Rani the Indian Queen..

The winner: The Indians are a adelighted lot after Ritu Rani's goal took the host past Italy. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

RITU Rani scores the all-important match winner
In a desperate situation, the Indian women's hockey team knew that it had to soothe its nerves and bolster its determination before taking on Italy in the final round robin league match of the Olympic qualifier.
The host barely managed to handle the pressure before edging past Italy 1-0 and reaching the summit clash against South Africa, at the National Stadium here on Friday.
After completing its league engagements, India gathered 10 points from five matches.
Ritu Rani scored the solitary goal in India's emotional victory, overall the seventh win over the same opponent, in front of the highly supportive home crowd.
India made a circumspective start before invading the rival citadel. However, it struggled to find harmony and lacked the conviction in executing its attacks. It wasted several chances, including four penalty corners, before the break.
The robust Italian defence closed the gaps effectively to frustrate the Indians.
Left winger Anuradha Devi, with her firmly-wrapped left thigh, was brave enough to shrug off her hamstring injury and take the field in the important match. She, however, clearly missed her rhythm.
Italy, placed second in the table before the match with eight points and needing at least a draw to play the final, never missed an opportunity to attack the Indian post. Nevertheless, it could not beat the home side's defence, led by Mukta Prava Barla and Subhadra Pradhan, which lifted its performance to make some quick interceptions and timely clearances.
The Indian backline showed its toughness to stop six short corners, which included two in the nerve-wracking final three minutes.
The Indians continued their quest for the first goal and tasted success in the 55th minute. Jaspreet Kaur launched a powerful flick off the sixth penalty corner and an alert Ritu Rani made no mistake in putting the rising rebound into the cage.
The Italians objected to the goal on the ground of dangerous play by Ritu. However, the umpire upheld the decision after consulting with her on-field colleague.
Eight minutes before the final hooter, the home team had another beautiful opportunity but Poonam Rani could not put her stick onto the fine 25-yard slapshot from Asunta Lakra.
The Italians pressed hard for the equalizer, which would have placed them in the final. However, it could not get the better of the Indian defence, which exhibited its steely resolve to save blushes for their team, which enjoyed the whole-hearted backing of the hockey loving spectators.
In another match, Ukraine beat Poland 1-0 to register its second win and make itself eligible to play the classification match for the third and fourth places against the Italy.
South Africa, boosted by Dirkie Chamberlain's hat-trick, rallied to hand Canada a 4-1 defeat and finish at the top of the table with 13 points.
The results: Ukraine 1 (Olena Ivakhnenko-28) bt Poland 0; South Africa 4 (Sulette Damons-23; Dirkie Chamberlain-41, 60, 62) bt Canada 1 (Thea Culley-16); India 1 (Ritu Rani-55) bt Italy 0.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Anderson shock Sapura

DIVISION Two champions Sapura were shellshocked after they were held to a 1-1 draw by MBI Anderson in the Milo Cup quarter-finals at the Kuala Lumpur HA Stadium yesterday.
Anderson, who finished fourth in Division One, soaked in the pressure after coming back from a goal down, and now aim to seal a semi-finals slot in the return leg tomorrow.
Sapura also lost two players to demerit points, and Fadzli Zulkifli and Farid Zuki will be siting on the stands in the crucial second leg.
Harmesh Singh gave Sapura the lead off a penalty corner attempt in the 17th minute, but Helmi Jaffar equalised for Anderson in the 38th minute also off a penalty corner attempt.
"Sapura played a robust game to rattle my players, but they ended up losing concentration match instead. My players can play better hockey than today (yesterday) and I believe they will be at their best in the return leg," said MBI Anderson coach Dalbir Singh.
Sapura coach I. Vickneswaran was disappointed that his charges muffed four open chances.
"When you fail to score four open goals in a match, there is bound to be unnecessary pressure in the return leg. Sapura will also play without two regulars, and that itself is going to make us the underdogs," said Vickneswaran.
League champions SSTMI Thunderbolts virtualy qualified for the semi-finals when they hammered Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (PJCC) 7-1, making the return leg purely academic.
The Thunderbolts goals were scored by Afzanizam Zakaria (ninth), Shahril Saabah (18th, 46th, 49th), Amir Zulkarnian (29th), Hafiz Seleman (38th) and Aminuddin Zain (59th). The PJCC consolation was scored by Nazirul Zebidi in the 36th minute.
UniKL Young Guns, as expected, also had an easy time as they beat USM Juniors 6-1, while Bukit Jalil Sports School beat Malacca High School 6-1.
The UniKL goals were scored by Shazrul Imran (fifth), Hafiz Zainol (eighth, 28th), Syafiq Zulzairin (41st), Nor Aqman Gaffar (55th), Hafify Rodzi (61st). The USM goal was scored by Izzuan Halim in the 60th minute.
RESULTS: Quarter-finals (First Leg): SSTMI Thunderbolts 7 Petaling Jaya Municipal Council 1, Sapura 1 MBI-Anderson 1, Malacca High School 1 Bukit Jalil Sports School 6, UniKL Young Guns 6 USM Juniors 1.
TOMORROW -- Second Leg: Bukit Jalil Sports School v Malacca High School (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 4pm), USM Juniors v UniKL Young Guns (KLHA, 4pm), Petaling Jaya Municipal Council v SSTMI Thunderbolts (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 6pm), MBI-An derson v Sapura (KLHA, 6pm).

Walmiki ruled out

EDITOR'S PREDICTIONS: Canada beat France while Poland shock India.

Promising India striker Yuvraj Walmiki
(pic in blue) was today ruled out of the remainder of the men’s hockey Olympic Qualification tournament due to a hamstring injury.
Walmiki sustained the injury during India’s third round—robin match against France on Tuesday and did not play in the hard—fought 3—2 win over Canada last night.
It is suspected that Walmiki has aggravated a previous injury and might take at least 21 days to get back to match fitness.
“He (Walmiki) underwent an MRI scan yesterday and reports suggest that he is suffering from a hamstring tear, which will probably take 7 to 10 days to repair,” India coach Micheal Nobbs told reporters at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium ahead of tomorrow’s final round—robin match against Poland.
"We fear he might have aggravated a previous injury. In that scenario, he will take at least 21 days to recover. He is a very talented player and crucial to our scheme of things.
So, we will carefully look into his rehabilitation,” he said.
Nobbs conceded his side will miss Walmiki but said he has enough resources in the squad to make up for his loss.
“As per the rules of the tournament, we can’t call for a replacement. But we have 17 more players in the squad. We may use (defender) Rupinder Pal Singh in the forwardline tomorrow because we used him successfully in this position in Australia,” Nobbs said.
Nobbs hinted that he will continue to experiment with the side and might play both the goalkeepers - captain Bharat Chetri and P R Srejeesh - alternatively tomorrow.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Izzat and Fitri included

A Sultan, a prince and a former Selangor top cop were at hand at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil to give moral support to the team which will be playing at the Dublin Olympics Qualifier on March 10-18.
Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) president Sultan Azlan Shah, Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, and AHF secretary Tan Sri P. Alagendra watched the team train before 18 players were named for the Qualifier.
The only surprise was the inclusion of youngsters Izzat Rahim, 22-years-old with eight caps, and 22-year-old Fitri Saari who only has two caps.
Fitri will be playing alongside his established brother Faizal for the first time in a tournament.
Coach Tai Beng Hai decided on 16 players from the Asian Games silver medal winning side, and included the two youngsters.
Azlan Shah was the first to advise the players: "I have been watching the team closely and frommy observation, Malaysia have been very vulnarable in the first and last five minutes of previous matches.
"A good example is the Champions Challenge I where we were leading India 4-2, but collapsed in the last five minutes to let India equalsie and then win the match 5-4 on sudden death.
"This must be avoided at all cost in Dublin if we harbour hopes of doing well," said the former Malaysian Hockey Federation president.
Beng Hai said he has selected the best and even the two new blood are ready for action.
"I have selected the best and the two players were included to cover some of the regulars who are slightly injured. However, the two alsoproved themselves during the tours and friendlies and should be able to give their best," said Beng Hai.
Malaysia open acounts against Chile on March 10, followed by Russia the next day. And then it is Ukraine on March 13, followed by a rest day before playing South Korea on March 15.
Hosts Ireland are last in the fixtures on March 17, and the top two teams advance to the finals. Only one ticket is on offer for the London Olympics.
"The stakes are high and we have done our best to prepare the players. Now, they must give their best and hopefully, we will win the gold medal and Qualify for the Olympics," said tengku Abdullah.
MALAYSIA: Roslan Jamaluddin (gk), S. Kumar (gk), Izzat Rahim, Amin Rahim, Marhan Jalil, Fitri Saari, Izwan Firdaus, Madzli Ikmar, Faizal Saari, Shahrun Nabil, Shukri Mutalib, Azlan Misron, Nabil Fiqri, Razie Rahim (skipper), Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi, Baljit Singh, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Azreen Rizal.

Easy for UniKL and Thunderbolts

THE Milo Cup Junior Hockey League quarter-finals today will see two walk in the parks, while two more knock-outs are expected to go to the wire.
League champions SSTMI Thunderbolts will play a weak Petaling Jaya Municipal Council, while UniKL Young GUns will square off against USM JUniors and both the first leg matches might end up with high scores.
UniKL beat Division One fifth placed USM Juniors 7-1 in the league, while newly crowned League champions SSTMI Thunderbolts beat PJCC 6-1 in the League.
"We did score a big win in the League against PJCC, but then again, this is a knock-out and things might turn against us if we do not show them respect.
"The plan is to secure a healthy win in the first leg, so that we do not have to worry too much about the return encounter on Sunday," said Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan.
Thunderbolts, formerly known as Bandar Penawar sports School, have an unbeaten record this season and their only blemish was the 1-1 draw in the final League match against UniKL, but they still lifted the title on a better scoring rate.
UniKL were disappointed in Johor Baru, because they ha targetted a double this season: "One title is gone, and the boys have been told to forget about it and make a strong challenge for the Overall title," said UniKL manager Amir Azhar.
Three players wil sit out the first leg quarter-finals because they have collected maximum demerit points.
UniKL's Taufik Hamid (12 points), PJCC's Saufian Othman (10 points) and Sapura's Amarpreet Singh (8 points).
TODAY: Quarter-finals (First Leg): SSTMI Thunderbolts v Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 4pm), Sapura v MBI-Anderson (KLHA, 4pm), Malacca High School v Bukit Jalil Sports School (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 6pm), UniKL Young Guns v USM Juniors (KLHA, 6pm).
SUNDAY -- Second Leg: Bukit Jalil Sports School v Malacca High School (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 4pm), USM Juniors v UniKL Young Guns (KLHA, 4pm), Petaling Jaya Municipal Council v SSTMI Thunderbolts (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 6pm), MBI-An derson v Sapura (KLHA, 6pm).

Sandeep scrapes India past Canada

VICTORY SALUTE: India's Sandeep Singh celebrates with teammates after scoring in the Olympic qualifiers against Canada at the National Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: S. Subramanium

MEN'S Standings
Team Games Wins Draws Losses Points
Pool A
India IND 4 4 0 0 12
Poland POL 4 3 0 1 9
France FRA 4 3 0 1 9
Canada CAN 4 2 0 2 6
Italy ITA 4 0 0 4 0
Singapore SIN 4 0 0 4 0

By Y. B. Sarangi The Hindu

SANDEEP Singh scores a brace, including the winner, as the host remains unbeaten
In a performance that will remain etched forever in the memory of Indian hockey fans, the host side pipped Canada 3-2 in an action-filled thriller of an Olympic qualifier match at the National Stadium here on Wednesday.
The Indian team put on an extra-ordinary show that will not only boost the players' confidence, but will also do a world of good for the future of the sport in the country.
India, undefeated so far, notched up its fourth consecutive win to gather 12 points, and has virtually booked a place in the final of the qualification event.
Sandeep Singh struck a brace while Shivendra Singh slotted in one goal in India's impressive endeavour. Mark Pearson and Scott Tupper scored for Canada.
The keenly-fought contest, packed with highly energetic performances from both the sides, really got the adrenalin flowing. For the first time in the tournament, India went without scoring in the opening 25 minutes of the match. Yet, the action was gripping.
Thanks to the enhanced fitness level of the Indians, they could withstand the pressure that was physically draining and mentally exhausting.
The skilful linkmen, led by the superb Sardar Singh, and the incisive frontline, consisting of some brilliant performers, jelled well to keep the Canadian defenders busy. When the rival strikers made their moves the Indian defenders rose to the challenge.
Indian forwards' enterprise bore fruit in the 26th minute when the young S.K. Uthappa fired in a cross from the left and Shivendra Singh shook off his challengers inside the circle to put India up.
The home side attacked with more vigour after changing the ends. Canadian goalkeeper, Antoni Kindler, came forward to prevent two fine attempts from S.V. Sunil and Sarvanjit Singh.
However, Sandeep, making the most of the team's second short corner, beat the rival custodian with a low flick.
Canada bounced back with two quick goals. Pearson banked on a defensive lapse inside the circle to reduce the margin, while Tupper made use of a penalty corner to score the equaliser.
Amid moments of heated exchanges between players of both sides, Sandeep spectacularly slammed in a fast flick along the carpet to convert India's fourth short corner and trigger wild celebrations in the stands.
France defeated Italy 3-0, while Poland outclassed Singapore 11-3 to keep their hopes alive.
Thursday is a rest day in both men and women tournaments.

The results:
Poland 11 (Szymon Oszyjczyk 9, 59, 63, Michal Nowakowski 24, Miroslaw Juszczak 35, Mateusz Poltasewski 40, 64, Bartosz Zywiczka 50, Artur Mikula 54, Tomasz Gorny 56, Waldemar Rataj 58) bt Singapore 3 (Farhan Kamsani 37, 49, Fazri Jailani 70).
France 3 (Arnaud Becuwe 43, Martin Genestet 52, Frederic Verrier 57) bt Italy 0.
India 3 (Shivendra Singh 26, Sandeep Singh 40, 61) bt Canada 2 (Mark Pearson 50, Scott Tupper 53).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

India outwits France

By Y. B. Sarangi The Hindu

ONE MORE IN THE KITTY: Sandeep Singh celebrates after scoring against France. Photo: S. Subramanium

A fine blend of skill and power is a treat to watch on a hockey pitch. India mixed both aspects of the game with authority to outwit France, a side thriving on its well-built and experienced crop of players, in the Olympic qualifier at the National Stadium here on Tuesday.
The commanding 6-2 victory was the result of a well-tuned teamworkfrom the host. However, Sandeep Singh bagged his share of limelight by becoming the first Indian in the tournament to score a hat-trick.
Besides, Shivendra Singh, S.V. Sunil, Tushar Khandekar struck one goalapiece in the home team's third consecutive win. Lucas Sevestre andFabien Magner were the successful scorers for France.
With a clean slate, India is now comfortably seated at the top of thetable, while three sides — Canada, France and Poland — are tied on sixpoints.
India took the upper hand by pumping in two goals within the first 10minutes. From the left, Khandekar provided the ball to Sarvanjit Singh, who pushed it to Shivendra on the goalmouth to complete the formalities in the fourth minute. Minutes later, Sandeep found the mark with his accurate drag-flick.
The host could have made it 4-0 in no time had S.K. Uthappa andGurvinder Singh Chandi not failed to tap the crosses from S.V. Sunil, who tormented the French backline with some lightening forays from the right flank.
Even though India was unable to inflate its lead in the next 22 minutes, it controlled the game well and foiled the tough French players' counterattacks. Ignace Tirkey and Sardar Singh switched roles to tackle the dangerous looking Martin Genestet, Simon Martin-Brisac and Olivier Sanchez.
Sunil, who exchanged a few passes with Shivendra while rushing forward, had a hand in the home side's third goal. He tripped to a Frederic Verrier tackle on the edge of the circle and India earned a penalty stroke. Sandeep had no problem in putting it into the net.
France continued its endeavour to reduce the margin and succeeded in the final moments of the first period. Manpreet Singh gifted away a short corner and Sevestre beat Bharat Chetri with his powerful flick.
Sandeep came back after the half-time to earn his hat-trick and Sunil finished off a fine move to take the match away from France. Both sides hit the target once more each in the entertaining and high-speed encounter. Canada posted a 15-1 win over Singapore, while Poland thrashed Italy 7-2.
The results: Canada 15 (Phillip Wright 7; Mark Pearson 7, 35, 40, 52; Rob Short 11, 50, 69; Scott Tupper 19, 23, 29, 68; Sukhwinder Singh 31; Richard Hildreth 45; Matt Guest 57) bt Singapore 1 (Kai Bin Chia 13); Poland 7 (Miroslaw Juszczak 6, 34; Szymon Hutek 7; Szymon Oszyjczyk 16; Karol Majchrzak 52; Tomasz Gorny 65; Artur Mikula 66) bt Italy 2 (Daniele Malta 13, 32); India 6 (Shivendra Singh 4; Sandeep Singh 8, 30, 36; S.V. Sunil 39; Tushar Khandekar 63) bt France 2 (Lucas Sevestre 35 and Fabien Magner 56).
Schedule for Wednesday: Men: Poland vs Singapore (12 p.m.); Italy vs France (4 p.m.); India vs Canada (8 p.m.). Women: Ukraine vs Italy (10 a.m.); Canada vs Poland (2 p.m.); India vs South Africa (6 p.m.).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Delhi: Road To London in pictures..


Easy for champions Thunderbolts

UNIKL: Drew 1-1 but finished second in the League on goals scored.
2012 CHAMPIONS: Thunderbolts players celebrate their big day.

THE Milo Cup Junior Hockey League quarter-final draw was extremely kind to UniKL Young Guns and SSTMI Thun derbolts as the ballot saw them playing teams which they thrashed in the League.
The top-four teams in Division One were seeded, and an open draw was held to decide pairings in the two-leg quarter- finals.
And newly crowned League champions SSTMI Thun derbolts were drawn to meet Petaling Jaya Municipal Council who finished sixth in Division One, and their 6-1 triumph in the League tells the whole story.
League bridesmaid UniKL Young Guns will meet Division One fifth placed USM Juniors, whom they trashed 7-1 in the league.
Division Two champions Sapura, who made their JHL debut this season, will also have a relatively easy encounter against MBI Anderson who finished Fourth in Division One.
The other knock out match will be between Division Two silver medallists Malacca High School and Division One third- placed team Bukit Jalil Sports School.
“It was a big boost for my players to emerge as Division Two champions in our first season in the JHL but now we will be playing against an established side (Anderson) who did well to finish fourth in Division One,” said Sapura coach I. Vickneswaran.
Vickneswaran, a former international, feels it would be foolish to take Anderson lightly: “I have told the players to forget about the League title as we will be starting fresh against a better opponent in the quarter-finals.
“Anderson have a proud history, and their merger with MBI (Ipoh Municipal Council) has not only made their team stronger, but they also have a very capable coaching bat tery,” said Vicknewaran.
Sapura won all eight League matches and scored a whop ping 42 goals and only let in two. And Anderson won four, drew one, and lost three of the League matches.
Playing in Division One also took the toll on Anderson’s defenders who let in 27 goals while they scored 28.
The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be held in Kuala Lumpur, while the final on March 4, will be held at the newly laid blue pitch at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.
FRIDAY: Quarter-finals (First Leg): SSTMI Thunderbolts v Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 4pm), Sapura v MBI-Anderson (KLHA, 4pm), Malacca High School v Bukit Jalil Sports School (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 6pm), UniKL Young Guns v USM Juniors (KLHA, 6pm).
SUNDAY -- Second Leg: Bukit Jalil Sports School v Malacca High School (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 4pm), USM Juniors v UniKL Young Guns (KLHA, 4pm), Petaling Jaya Municipal Council v SSTMI Thunderbolts (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 6pm), MBI-An derson v Sapura (KLHA, 6pm).

Bharat spot on

A SCORCHER: V.R. Raghunath scores India's second goal during its 8-1 drubbing of Italy. Photo: S. Subramanium

Indian captain Bharat Chetri had predicted that the home team's outings against Singapore and Italy would be like ‘practice matches.' His words turned out to be prophetic.
India warmed itself up for the sterner tests ahead by decimating another minnow, 28th-ranked Italy, 8-1 as it registered its second consecutive victory in the Olympic hockey qualifier at the National Stadium, here on Sunday.
The back-to-back win helped the host garner six points and reach the top of the table with a huge goal difference of +21.

Sandeep Singh (3), S.V. Sunil (2), V.R. Raghunath, Gurvinder Singh Chandi and Shivendra Singh scored for India. Alessandro Nanni reduced the margin for Italy.
For the statistically-minded, India could not better its previous best performance against the same rival, recorded way back in 1959. Then, Italy had suffered a 0-10 loss in an invitational tournament played in Terrassa.
However, the result here was quite different from India's 3-0 win in Caligari, where the two clashed 17 years ago.
On Sunday, the host started from where it had left off in its opening engagement against Singapore. But, in the face of some tough tackles from the Italians, the action was less monotonous than expected. Against the physically stronger European team, the game was more demanding. The Indians seemed ready for the challenge and pressed hard for goals by fielding 10 men inside the Italian half for the most part.
First blood
India drew first blood when Sandeep's low flick from a fourth minute penalty corner, sounded the board. He went on to hit the target two more times as India scored its first four goals off short corners and enjoyed a 100 per cent conversion rate at the lemon break.
Apart from that, Sunil and Chandi contributed a goal apiece to help the Asian Champions Trophy winner go 6-1 up in the opening 35 minutes. The only blemish for the host was a goal conceded in the 16th minute.
Nanni pushed home a rebound off a penalty corner, originating from poor defensive work by Sandeep. Three minutes after the change of ends, Sunil deflected in a Sandeep slapshot to complete his brace.
However, Italy displayed some solid defence through man-to-man marking and quick clearances. A few wide shots also prevented India from extending its lead for a period of 14 minutes.
Shivendra slotted in the final goal for India, which again struggled to taste success in the final 18 minutes.
Poland shocks Canada
In other matches in the men's competition, 19th-placed Poland shocked 14th-ranked Canada 3-2 in a thriller, while France banked on Martin Genestet's five goals, including a hat-trick, to outplay Singapore 9-0.
Monday is a rest day in both the men's and women's qualifying tournaments.
The results: Poland 3 (Mateusz Poltaszewski 18, Artur Mikula 33, Dariusz Rachwalski 70) bt Canada 2 (Iain Smythe 35, Sukhwinder Singh 54); France 9 (Martin Genestet 3, 30, 56, 58, 69; Sebastien Jean 14, 41; Simon Martin-Brisac 17, Fabien Magner 32) bt Singapore 0; India 8 (Sandeep 4, 22, 23; Sunil 30, 38; Raghunath 12; Chandi 32; Shivendra 52) bt Italy 1 (Nanni 16).

Johor Baru is further than Dublin...

The last time I checked, the distance between Johor Baru and Kuala Lumpur was just over 400 km while the distance between Dublin and KL was something in the range of 7500 miles.
But perhaps it has since changed as only 4 (FOUR) Malaysian Hockey Confederation officials made the trek down south for the MJHL matches today.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thunderbolts wrest title on draw

TUNKU Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolts wrestled back the Milo-junior Hockey League Division One title from UniKL Young Guns when they played to a 1-1 draw at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.
Thunderbolts and UniKL ended their fixtures tied on 22 points, and also have a six goal cushion each but Thunderbolts scored 44 goals while UniKL 43 and that thin line separated both the teams.
This is the third season that Thunderbolts-UniKL matches ended in a 1-1 draw, with Thunderbolts claiming the title on goals in 2010, while UniKL lifted the title also on goals in 2011. Thunderbolts returned the favour yesterday.
"We were not as sharp as our other seven league matches, and did just enough to hold onto the draw which gave us back the League title we won in 2010. And now, we would be gunning for the elusive double in the knock-out stages," said Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan.
UniKL manager Amir Azhar said they did not lose against Thunderbolts for the last three seasons, but a draw was not what they had in mind today.
"We had sound plans to seal a victory, but my players were overcome by emotion and the plan went out the window. UniKL lost 50 percent of our target today (yesterday) but there is still the Overall title to plan for now," said Amir.
Thunderbolts almost scored in the 16th minute but instead were awarded their first penalty corner of the match, however, Shahril Saabah's flick was well saved by UniKL goalkeeper Shukor Safie.
But they kept attacking and forced another penalty corner in the 20th minute, and this time, Shahril's attempt was charged down but Amir Zulkarnain sent home the rebound to send the home crowd into a frenzy.
The goal woke up UniKL and they won four penalty corners in a span of three minutes, but failed to score. However, they got their break in the 32nd minute, when Hafiz Zainol deflected in a shot from Syafiq Zulzairin and both teams walked into the dresssing room on level terms.
The second half started with UniKL looking more promising, but still muffed sitters and the draw at the moment was more favourable to Thunderbolts than the university side.
However, the electrifying final almost turned into a free-for-all in the 48th minute, when Thunderbolts player Huzairy Zin hit UniKL player Haziq Samsul who fell to the ground grimacing in pain.
Players from both sides started shoving and pushing each other, and the incident almost turned ugly but UniKL manager Amir Azhar ran onto the pitch and pulled back his players.
Huzairy was sent off with a yellow card, and Thunderbolts were a man-down for at least the next 10 minutes.
UniKL used the one-man advantage to the hilt, but all their moves were stopped just outside the Thunderbolts semi-circle, and then they lost Hafiz Zainol to a yellow card in the 57th minute to square the equation.
However, Thunderbolts held on a series of assaults in the final minutes, to claim the League title on goals scored.
Meanwhile, Sapura won the Division Two title which came with a RM12,000 purse when they edged Malacca High School with two late goals.
Both team also qualified for the knockout stages of the MILO Cup that will commence next Friday.
Malacca HC, who received RM8,500, missed a penalty stroke and a sitter before Sapura's Meor Ahmad gave them the lead in the 58th minute, while Zulhilmi Muhammad made sure of victury a minute later.
In the bronze decider, Batu Pahat beat Politeknik KPT 1-0 courtesy of Nazlan Tumirin who scored in the 47th minute. Batu Pahat pocketed RM7,000 while Politeknik RM6,000.
RESULTS: DIVISION ONE -- SSTMI-Thunderbolts 1 UniKL 1, SSTMI 2 USM-MSSPP Juniors 5.


THIRD PLACING: Politeknik KPT 0 Batu Pahat 1.
FINAL: Sapura 2 Malacca High School 0.



P W D L F A Pts
THUNDERBOLTS 8 7 1 0 44 8 22
UNIKL 8 7 1 0 43 7 22
BJSS 8 5 1 2 30 17 16
Anderson 8 4 1 3 28 27 13
USM Jnrs 8 4 1 3 21 24 13
MBPJ 8 3 0 5 20 21 9
SSTMI 8 2 0 6 14 38 6
TBSS 8 1 1 6 15 34 4
BJSS Jnrs 8 0 0 8 5 44 0

India rides roughshod over Singapore

RUTHLESS DEMOLITION: India made a strong start to the Olympic qualifiers with a 15-1 thrashing of Singapore. Here, Shivendra Singh celebrates after scoring. Photo: S. Subramanium

Host opens Olympic Qualifiers in authoritative fashion

THE rout was expected and the result was a foregone conclusion. The margin of victory was the only thing to predict and India thumped Singapore, separated by 31 slots in the world ranking, 15-1 to open its campaign in the Olympic qualifier in style.
The verdict at the National Stadium here on Saturday was much bigger than India's 9-0 victory over the same rival in their last meeting in the 1998 Asian Games.
According to statistician B.G. Joshi, this was India's biggest win over Singapore. The previous record was set in 1982 Asia Cup, where India had thrashed the same team 12-0.
Gurvinder Singh Chandi (3), Shivendra Singh (2), S.V. Sunil (2), Danish Mujtaba (2), Yuvraj Walmiki, Tushar Khandker, S.K. Uthappa, Sandeep Singh, Sardar Singh and Birendra Lakra contributed goals in the heavily-tilted affair in favour of India.
If India led half a dozen goals at the break, then it frittered away at least a dozen of chances. The forwards worked like parts of a well-oiled machine and their performance should boost their morale in the testing times ahead. India tried out various combinations and tasted resounding success.
It was a package of non-stop entertainment. The variety of attackers — be it the sharp moving Sunil, the opportune Shivendra and Chandi, the energetic Khandkar, the powerful Uthappa or the intelligent duo of Sarvanjit Singh and Mujtaba — thrilled all.
Chandi, who later adjudged the player of the match, initiated the onslaught when he took advantage of Singapore defenders' distraction and put India ahead in the 10th minute despite missing to connect on first attempt.
That opened up the floodgates and the host went on to pump in nine more goals in the second half. However, Singapore had a few positives to count upon. It will cherish the lone goal scored by Enrico Abdul Lathif Marican, who struck home after receiving a precise cross from the right.
The Singapore custodian Sam Ong, despite experiencing the humiliation of conceding so many goals, was the hero of the match for the lowly side. He made some brave efforts to thwart many an Indian shots at the goal and was a picture of enthusiasm and energy for the full length of the match.
In other matches, Canada trounced Italy 9-0, while France beat Poland 2-1.
The results: Canada 9 (David Jameson 13th minute, Matt Guest-20, 56, Rob Short 34, 57, Hudson Stewart 39, Iain Smythe 54, Phillip Wright 60, Scott Tupper 65) bt Italy 0; France 2 (Hugo Genestet 9, Lucas Sevestre 39) bt Poland 1 (Szymon Oszyjczyk 41); India 15 (Chandi 10, 21 40, Shivendra 18, 30, Danish 25, 52, Sunil 54, 57, Sardar 11, Khandker 42, Sandeep 47, Uthappa 48,Walmiki 53, Lakra 70) bt Singapore 1 (Enrico Marican)
Sunday schedule: Men: Canada vs Poland (12 p.m.); France vs Singapore (4 p.m.); India vs Italy (8 p.m.).
Women: Italy vs Poland (10 a.m.); South Africa vs Ukraine (2 p.m.); India vs Canada (6 p.m.).

Strong start by Canada and France

MEN --

CAN Canada
Italy ITA
FRA France
Poland POL
IND India
Singapore SIN
15 - 1 (6 - 0)


RSA South Africa
Poland POL
ITA Italy
Canada CAN
IND India
Ukraine UKR

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Explosive battle in Johor Baru

TUNKU Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolts played bridesmaid against UniKL in the Milo-Junior Hockey League league title battle for the last two seasons, but one man is bent on changing matters today.
Both the teams will play their last league fixtures, with Thunderbolts only needing a draw while UniKL an outright win to lift the League title.
Thunderbolts forward Shahril Saabah said he has a score to settle against arch rivals UniKL at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.
Last season, the Project 2013 player gave Thunderbolt the lead, also in the last league match against UniKL at Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium, but UniKL equalised and the match ended in a 1-1 draw, which handed the university team the league title as they had a better goal difference.
However, the tables are turned against UniKL today, as even thugh both the teams have 21 points and a six-goal cushion, Thunderrbolts have scored 43 while UniKL 42 goals.
Shahril, 19, scored 10 goals in six matches and said he has been waiting for a long time to settle the score.
"Last season I scored first, but we still lost the league title after the match ended in a 1-1 draw. But tomorrow (today), we just need a draw to win the league title but we will not take any chances and will be going all for a win," said Shahril who was the top scorer last year with 15 goals.
UniKL received a big boost as their skipper Taufik Hamid will return after a three-match ban for a red card offense.
He was banned three matches afte he hit Bukit Jalil Sports School's (BJSS) Ashraf Alias on the face with a stick on Feb 4.
Taufik, a former Thunderbolts player, said that it would be an uphill battle as they are playing away.
"It will be touch-and-go as our last two league matches in the last two years in KL ended in a 1-1 draw.
"However, I hope my team-mates will rise to occasion in Johor Baru to retain the league title," said Taufik, who scored three goals.
TODAY: DIVISION ONE -- SSTMI-Thunderbolts v UniKL (Taman Daya Stadium, Pitch I 5.30pm), SSTMI v USM-MSSPP Juniors
(Taman Daya stadium, Pitch I 3.30pm)


THIRD PLACING: Politeknik KPT v Batu Pahat (Taman Daya Stadium, Pitch II, 3.00pm)
FINAL: Sapura v Malacca High School (Taman Daya Stadium, Pitch II, 5.00pm)



P W D L F A Pts
THUNDERBOLTS 7 7 0 0 43 7 21
UNIKL 7 7 0 0 42 6 21
BJSS 8 5 1 2 30 17 16
Anderson 8 4 1 3 28 27 13
USM Jnrs 7 3 1 3 16 22 10
MBPJ 8 3 0 5 20 21 9
SSTMI 7 2 0 5 12 33 6
TBSS 8 1 1 6 15 34 4
BJSS Jnrs 8 0 0 8 5 44 0

Friday, February 17, 2012

UniKL's seven not enough

UNIKL beat USM Juniors 7-1 to take the Milo-Junior Hockey League Division One title to the wire tomorrow at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.
League champions UniKL and SSTMI Thunderbolts are tied on 21 points as well as having a similar six goal cushion, and incidentally, they will square off in the last JHL match of the season to decide the title.
Thunderbolts need a draw, while UniKL need an outright win to defend their title.
"We made it difficult on ourselves by letting in a soft goal against USM, and now will have to beat Thunderbolts on Sunday (tomorrow). We missed too many sitters against USM, and we can't afford that in the last match of the season," said UniKL manager Amir Azhar.
The UniKL goals were scored by Haziq Samsul (14th), Hafiz Zainol (29th, 37th), Nor Aqmal Gaffar (35th), Ibnu Fata Illah (42nd) and N. Kaatigana (56th, 69th).
And the USM consolation was nailed by Rahimi Iskandar in the 46th minute.
"Today (yesterday) the boys did not play according to the game plan and looked lethargic for the first 20 minutes. However, the 3-0 half-time lead was promising, and it looked like we were on target to achieve our seven goal margin but then we let in a simple goal to make it difficult.
"The last two years in the League, we drew 1-1 on both occasions against Thunderbolts and that is why we wanted the goals cushion against USM, but could not achieve it," said Amir.
In the Division Two semi-finals, Sapura beat Batu Pahat 4-2 while Malacca High School beat Politeknik PKT 2-1 to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Overall title chase.
RESULTS: Division One -- SSTMI 3 TBSS 1, MBPJ 3 BJSS Juniors 1, UniKL Young Guns 7 USM Juniors 1.
DIVISION TWO: Semi-finals -- Sapura 4 Batu Pahat 2, Malacca High School 2 Politeknik PKT 1.
TOMORROW: SSTMI Thunderbolts v UniKL Young Guns (Taman Daya Pitch I, 5.30pm), SSTMI v USM-MSSPP Juniors (Taman Daya Pitch II, 3pm),

P W D L F A Pts
THUNDERBOLTS 7 7 0 0 43 7 21
UNIKL 7 7 0 0 42 6 21
BJSS 8 5 1 2 30 17 16
Anderson 8 4 1 3 28 27 13
USM Jnrs 7 3 1 3 16 22 10
MBPJ 8 3 0 5 20 21 9
SSTMI 7 2 0 5 12 33 6
TBSS 8 1 1 6 15 34 4
BJSS Jnrs 8 0 0 8 5 44 0