Saturday, March 16, 2013

Now for the gold after 22 Editions..

   "We really played very well in the last five minutes of all five matches, and that shows that Malaysia are a fighting side," said Malaysia coach Paul Revington.
  Any complacency as Malaysia were already in the final.
  "A little, but the positive thing is that going into the final, we came back from behind to draw the match to remain unbeaten in this tournament. That is very important to my plans.
  "Razie (who received a nasty knock) is fine, and against Australia, the World No 2, we will definately give it our best shot," said Revington.
  Faizal Saari, who topscored for Malaysia with five goals in the tournament, is looking forward to continuous support from the fans.
  "I urge the crowd to throw their full support behind the team like they have done in the past five matches as it is a defining moment for the country.
  "Malaysia has never won the title in 22 Editions (30 years) and we hope to correct that score tomorrow, with the undying help from the crowd," said Faizal.
  "We could have scored three or four more goals, and in future when we play Malaysia we will do just that," warned India coach Michael Nobbs, as India will also play in the Asia Cup in Ipoh for the ticket to the World Cup.
   And who did Nobbs pick to win the final: "Australia, of course."

Malaysia deny India bronze play-off..

THERE was hardly any standing room at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday when Malaysia entered the pitch to play against India.
  More than 15,000 supporters, with many more unable to enter, came to watch Malaysia play against India even though the hosts were already in the final courtsey of an Australian 3-2 win over New Zealand in the earlier match.
  However, Malaysia did not disappoint their fans, as they went for the jugular from the first whistle, and then played all out for 70 minutes to hold India to a 2-2 draw to ende the tournament without a defeat.
  And Faizal Saari scored his fourth goal of the tournament in the sixth minute off Malaysia's first penalty corner to send the crowd into wild celebrations.
  However, there was a tinge of sadness in the celebrations, as the patron of the tournament Sultan Azlan Shah did not get a chance to watch any of Malaysia's matches as he is not feeling well.
  The patron will also not be there to watch Malaysia play Australia in the final today, and Raja Nazrin Shah will hand out the Cup to the champions.
  India scored the equaliser when Mandeep finally got it right in the 20th minute when he connected a cross which went sailing just over Kumar's helmet into the back of the net.
  And off only their second penalty corner, India took the lead off Rupinder Pal Singh in the 48th minute.
  With one minute remaining on the clock, Malaysia won a penalty corner and Faizal's drag hit an India defender's shoulder and the umpire blew for a stroke. India protested and almost wakled out but coach Michael Nobbs convinces them to play on.
  Faizal steps to the spot, and flicks in the equaliser which relegated India to playing Pakistan in the fifth-sixth playoff.

  TODAY: Final -- Malaysia v Australia (8.30pm); Third-Fourth: New Zealand v South Korea (6pm); Fifth-Sixth: India v Pakistan (3.30pm).


               P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts

AUSTRALIA      5  3  2  0  17 9  11
MALAYSIA       5  2  3  0  10 8  9
N ZEALAND      5  2  0  3  11 9  6
KOREA          5  1  2  2  9  12 5
PAKISTAN       5  1  2  2  9  16 5
INDIA          5  1  1  3  9  11 4

  RESULTS: Korea 2 Pakistan 2, Australia 3 New Zealand 2, Malaysia 2 India 2.
  Note: All matches at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

Australia drag Malaysia into the final...

AUSTRALIA edged New Zealand 3-2 yesterday to drag Malaysia as well into the Azlan Shah Cup final in Ipoh today.
  With the expected win from the World No 2, Malaysia qualified for only their fourth Azlan Shah Cup final with a match in hand against India, but its not going to be a Sunday walk against the Aussies for Paul Revington and his men.
  The other three finals that Malaysia played in 1985, 2007 and 2009 only produced silver medals on all three occasions. Malaysia lost to India, Australia and India again in the other three finals.
  For the record, Malaysia held Australia 1-1 in the group stages.
  Australian coach Ric Charlsworth, three of his support staff, and player Timothy Bates did not turn up at the stadium yesterday as they were down with food poisoning.
  Graham Reid stood in as coach: "We only had a skeleton support staff today (yesterday) and it looks like Tim (Timothy) might even miss the final."
  On Malaysia, Reid was wary of their counter-attacks: "This is a really fast team, and we have to be on our toes for 70 minutes. What with backing from the capacity crowd (more than 13,000) every match, its not going to be an easy encounter."
  And it was the slowest of starts for Australia in the tournament, as they toyed around with the ball, and even failed to convert the three penalty corners that came their 15 minutes into the match.
  New Zealand started moving out of their own semi-circle with counter attacks, and kept defending the penalty corners that were awarded against them.
  And by the 27th minute, Australia only had five wasted penalty corners to show, but the Kiwis mounted another one of their rare counter-attacks, and Jacob Smith tapped home a square from close range to grab the lead.
  And just as the second half started, the rain also came poring down, and the Australians started singing to their origninal champions tune.
  Jacob Whetton's 38th and 39th minute field goals suddenly turned the tide on the Kiwis, and even before the cheers died down, Australia scored their third.
  And this time, it was Matt Gohdes turn to score a field goal in the 42nd minute.
  The match was stopped for 10 minutes in the 50th mark, as torrential rain flooded the pitch, but after resumption, New Zealand narrowed the score in the 56th minute with a penalty corner attempt from Cory Bennett.
  But it was too late a fightback, and Australia will now make an attempt for their seventh Azlan Shah Cup title against the three-time silver medalists hosts.