Saturday, March 9, 2013

Revington's take on the Korean win..

"It was certainly a pleasing three points, but not a very pleasing performance. We played well in the first 35 minutes, and then gave away the balls too easily in the second half.
  "However, the last five minutes of the match belonged to us and this is a welcome chance from the past where we normally give away easy goals in the tail end of the match," said Malaysian coach Paul Revington.

Chua Boon Huat delivers for Malaysia..

 Pic: Chua Boon Huat nails the winner in the 70th minute..
MALAYSIA needed the tonic from 11-time Azlan Shah Cup veteran Chua Boon Huat to beat South Korea 3-2 in a highly entertaining match in Ipoh yesterday.
  After taking the lead, Malaysia allowed Korea to claw back in, but Chua's brace saved the blushes for the hosts.
  The parking bays were full, and the Azlan Shah Stadium was reverberating with deafening sounds of vuvuzelas as the fans cheered Malaysia to start on the right footing.
  And there were some magical early moments, only for the final connect to go haywire as experienced players like Chua Boon Huat, his 11th Azlan Shah Cup, missed.
  And after 12 minutes, coach Paul Revington brought in Baljit Singh to defend and Faizal Saari and to attack, together with Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, as the Koreans looked like they had settled issues with their jittery start.
  And by the 18th minute, Malaysia were down to nine-men as Baljit and Razie Rahim, both defenders, were shown the green card but the Koreans could not capatalise on the situation.
  Malaysian finally won their first penalty corner in the 20th minute when Shukri Mutalib was brought down by Lee Seung Hoon.
  The Korean runners were focused on Razie, the No 1 flicker, but the ball was pushed towards Faizal Shaari who almost tore the netting for the first goal of the tournament.
  And as the half-time hooter blew, Malaysia had the lions's share of possession but only one goal to show, while the Koreans did not even win a single penalty corner or a shot at goal.
  After the restart, Malaysia were again blunt in finishing off their chances, while the Koreans had started making inroads by the 50th minute.
  The script changed in the 57th minute when Korea won their first penalty corner and Nam Hyun Woo made it count to equalise.
  But the veteran Boon Huat almost saved the day with a reverse stick goal in the 68th minute only to see Yoon Sung Hoon equalise in the 69th minute.
  But Boon Huat, refused to share points and deflected the winner in the 70th minute to send the crowd into wild celebrations.
  In another match, World No 2 Australia struggled to beat India, even after taking a 3-0 lead, only to win by a slim 4-3 margin.
  Asutralia created an early cushion with goals from Matt Ghodes (24th, 39th) and Glenn Simpson (38th) and even though India fought back gallantly, Trent Mitton's 53rd minute goal denied them.
  The India goals was scored by Rupinder Pal Singh (40th, 68th) and Malak Singh (51st).
  Malaysia play New Zealand today, and Kiwi coach Colin Batch said: "It will be interesting against Malaysia tomorrow (today) as we played them twice already this week ( NZ won 3-2 then lost 3-2) but this is the one that counts, and we aim to win it this time around.
  "The noise level affected the players and I expect it to be higher tmorrow and the players need to adapt."
  In the first match of the day, Pakistan beat defending champions New Zealand 4-3.
  A hat-trick from Muhammad Imran (19th, 28th, 58th) and Abdul Haseem Khan's (21st) goal handed them the three points.
  New Zealand, down 3-0, fought back to level at 3-3 with goals Kane Russel (30th), Blair Tarrant (52nd) and Andy Hayward (56th); but Pakistan ruled the day.
  RESULTS: New Zealand 3 Pakistan 4, Australia 4 India 3, Malaysia 3 South Korea 2.


               P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts

AUSTRALIA      1  1  0  0  4  3  3
PAKISTAN       1  1  0  0  4  3  3
MALAYSIA       1  1  0  0  3  2  3
INDIA          1  0  0  1  3  4  0
N ZEALAND      1  0  0  1  3  4  0
KOREA          1  0  0  1  2  3  0

Australia beat India 4-3

World No 2 Australia struggled to beat India, even after taking a 3-0 lead, only to win by a slim 4-3 margin.
  Asutralia created an early cushion with goals from Matt Ghodes (24th, 39th) and Glenn Simpson (38th) and even though India fought back gallantly, Trent Mitton's 53rd minute goal denied them.
  The India goals was scored by Rupinder Pal Singh (40th, 68th) and Malak Singh (51st).

Pakistan beat defening champs NZ 4-3

PAKISTAN: Imran (19th, 28th, 58th) and Abdul Haseem Khans (21st)
NZ: Kane Russel (30th), Blair Tarrant (52nd) and Andy Hayward (56th)

Azlan Shah Cup: Fabulous, fairy tale razzmatazz

Not many tournaments in the world of hockey have the reputation of surviving after initial euphoria. Being amateur in spirit, field hockey could not afford to galaxy of tournaments to cater to its fans. Only contests that survived, or survives, are those which carry the world body’s label such as Champions Trophy, which comes outside the regulars such as Olympics, World Cup and Continental events.
An exception is Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, put on board in 1983. It’s a stand alone invitation tournament that survived time, and satiated the the quest of event-starved hockey fans.
That the proud possession of Asia is now on its twenty-second edition, is a great news. Fittingly, this year has wonderful line up, what with return of Australia, and former winners in New Zealand, India and Pakistan. seven top teams with full strength.
A walk down the memory lane fills one with pride and nostalgia.
The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, the biggest tournament in the Asian Hockey Federation calendar, is the Malaysian Hockey Federation’s baby, which it conceived to cater to their domestic needs. Though initially known after the host city or a name denoting the number of teams in the field, it was later named after Sultan Azlan Shah. Field hockey is one of the popular sports in Malaysia and it also elicits patronage from the elite rulers. It was, therefore, in the fitness of things that the tournament was named after one of its kings Raja Sultan Azlan Shah, who headed the Asian Hockey Federation for long and the MHF then. Besides being a great hockey fan, Azlan Shah also lends his personality to the development of hockey, discharging many prestigious national and global assignments.
Though originally contemplated as a bi-annual event, as the enthusiasm grew the Azlan Cup became an annual affair since 1994. Indira Gandhi Gold Cup was the only other international tournament in those times but the Indian event was discontinued after 1995. The inaugural edition, known as Pentangular Tournament as five nations took part, was held at Kuala Lumpur from August 21 to 28, 1983. India and Pakistan played the first match which ended in a 1-1 draw. Rajinder Singh (Jr.), Indian coach for the 2005 edition, was among the proud participants of that match. Ric Charlesworth’s Australia won all four round-robin matches and then defeated the reigning World Cup holders Pakistan 1-0 in the final to lift the Cup, then called as Raja Tun Azlan Trophy. The winning goal came from the stick of Terry Walsh.
Ten years after winning the World Cup in Malaysia, India again became toast of that country when it lifted the second Azlan Cup in Ipoh in the fag end of 1985. India defeated defending champions Australia 4-3 in its pool before firing Pakistan in the semis (1-0). It was the hosts who faced defeat (4-2) in the final on 3rd December. India won the Cup twice since then. A week after India’s win, Azlan Shah, MHF president and FIH Vice-President, was crowned as Sultan of Perak and became the Deputy King of Malaysia.
Germany became the first European nation to engrave its name on the Cup in 1987 at Perak. Next edition due for 1989 was not staged, perhaps the dates clashed with the onset of the annual Indira International Gold Cup in India. When it was revived in 1991, celebrated coach Balkrishen Singh’s India won the six-nation round robin event without giving away a point. India defeated Pakistan, courtesy Mukesh Kumar’s only goal, and USSR on its way to podium. England’s turn it was in 1994 before India was once again on the victor’s podium in 1995. All the teams in the 1995 event were rather experimental ones, a rare thing in the history of the Cup. Goalie Ashish Ballal blocked greenhorn Michael Green’s stroke in the tie-breaker for India’s third and till date, the last title.
Eight editions were staged in the nine-year interregnum between 1996 and 2004, 1997 being the blank occasion. Pakistan won the title successively twice (1999 and 2000, 2002 and 2003), a feat no other country could match.
The 2004 number was won by Australia in January and six months later they were at heavens in Athens. Like in the past, victory in Azlan proved to be the stepping stone for greater glory for the Aussies. They again won the title in 2005.
undefined Australia’s dominance continued in 2007 also. In the 2008 editon at Ipoh, Argentna put it across India in the final through golden goal. Canada, New Zealand, Pakistan, all qualified for the Beijing Olympics were in the fray.
In 2009, held a month before the Asia Cup, India won the Cup and it missed another outright title win next year when rains prevented what was expected to be a grand battle between India and Korea.
Azlan Cup is perhaps the only tournament in the world that provided airfare for the invited teams besides free hospitality for long time. Secondly, the organisers strictly ensure participation of national sides; violators have been sternly sidelined for the future editions. This policy helped the tournament grow in stature.
Normally timed before major global events such as the World Cup or the Olympics, it drew worthy teams and the participants too took the tournament with the seriousness it deserved.
Having seen so much action on the field, tremendous support from Sultan Azlan Shah himself, the event carved a niche for itself in the sporting history of Malaysia, if not the Asia.
One immediate task that, if accomplished will help it grow further and make it a commercial success, is to put on plan to telecast the matches to as much countries as possible. Thankfully this time Neo Prime beams it to Indian homes, so also Astro in Malaysia.
However, the annual feature of Malaysia, the Azlan Cup, is a veritable window for future of Asian Hockey is an established fact, and it cannot be denied.
Recently, FIH president was quoted as saying allocating a window for Azan Shah Cup to facilitate strong nations to participate. That is for the future, as of now past is prisine glory and present is equally same.
Let us savour another edition of this great tournament.