Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Malaysia 4 Canada 2

Malaysian goals by Razie Rahim (seventh), Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (11th), Faizal Saari (24th) and Fitri Saari (56th).
MALAYSIA didn't have to lift a finger against Canada, but were propelled to the top of Group A in the Champions Challenge I in Buenos Aires, Argentina yesterday.
  The earlier match between Poland, world No 19, and South Korea, No 7, upset the rankings when Poland won 5-4 which saw Malaysia unchallenged to the top on six points from beating Poland (4-0) and South Korea (4-2) in their earlier matches.
  However, Malaysia still went on to beat Canada 4-2 yesterday to keep a clean slate on nine points.
  Malaysia will now play against the bottom placed team in Group B which could be either South Africa, Ireland or even Japan.
  The South Africa-Ireland and Japan-Argentina matches were yet to start at Press time.
  All eight teams qualify for the quarter-finals, but only the champion advances to the Champions Trophy.

Poland stun Korea 5-4..

Poland claimed their first win of the tournament with a stunning 5-4 victory over top-ranked Korea in the first game of Day 3 at the Argentina Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Quilmes.  It was a remarkable result, with the team ranked 19th in the FIH World Rankings overcoming a side currently sitting 12 places above them at 7th. The result means that Malaysia are certain to top Pool A irrespective of the result in their later match against Canada.
It took Korea less than two minutes to open the scoring in the early morning fixture, with You Hyo Sik crashing home the opening goal before the Asians enjoyed 20 minutes of virtually unbroken dominance.  Korea controlled possession and created a number of excellent opportunities to extend their lead but were thwarted on numerous occasions by Poland goalkeeper Arkadiusz Matuszak who was in inspired form.
Poland pulled themselves back into the match in the 26th minute thanks to a clever reverse stick deflection from Szymon Hutek, but Korea re-established their advantage just before half time when Jang Jong Hyun sent a perfectly placed penalty corner drag-flick into the net.
Poland exploded out of the blocks at the start of the second period, netting three goals in five minutes to stun their opponents from Korea.  A 40th minute own goal was followed two minutes later by a tap-in from brilliant midfielder Dariusz Rachwalski before Miroslaw Jusczak flicked home from a penalty corner in the 45th minute to give Poland a 4-2 advantage.
Korea fought hard to get back into the match but fell even further behind when Tomasz Gorny added a fifth 12 minutes from the end of the match.  Late goals from Jang Jong Hyun (PC) and Hyun Hye Sung (FG) gave Korea hope of a remarkable comeback, but smart defensive work ensured that Poland held on for a famous and hard earned victory.  

To see the official match sheet, please click here. 

Karol Sniezek (POL Coach)
 “Yes, I’m really happy with this team. Today they played very well. The most important thing is that they are improving every match. As I said the first match, we need these first 3 games to feel confidence and today they gained that. Korea is a great opponent, may be the best one in this tournament.”
“My players are trying to acclimatize in Argentina and with the temperature here. They will reach the proper level, physically and tactically, for the classification matches on Thursday”. 

 Darius Rachwalski (POL Captain and Scorer)
“I felt better today as we played our best match here in this tournament. I think we improved and that is good for our young and inexperienced players.  I can’t remember the last time Poland defeated Korea. It is great for us, for our confidence to face the classification pool.”
 Shin Seok Kyo (KOR Coach)
“Our team has many young players and they made many mistakes. They missed many opportunities to score and made the difference. At this time of the year, the players are tired. We have to think now in the next stage. In the semi-finals, we would prefer to play against Japan.”