Sunday, September 1, 2013

South Korea the Asian Masters..

SOUTH Korea won their fourth Asia Cup title when they beat India 4-3 and also gave the World Cup berth to Malaysia at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday.
   Now, India will have to wait for the Oceania Cup battle between Australia and New Zealand to claim their ticket, which is virtually theirs, as both the Aussies and Kiwis have also qualified and it does not matter which team wins.
    Asian masters South Korea defended stoutly for 25 minutes, before delivering two parting salvos and entering the dressing room with a comfortable lead.
   The first goal came off the stick of  Jang Jong Hyun in the 28th minute for his eight penalty corner goal of the tournament, and a minute later You Hyo Sik  delivered another field goal blow.
    Rupinder Pal Singh narrows the gap with a 48th minute penalty corner, and Nikkin Thimmaiah scores the equaliser in the 54th minute.
    But a 57th minute penalty stroke by Nam Hyun Woo gave Korea the lead again, only for Mandeep Singh to smash in the equaliser in the 65th minute.
   However, the gold was delivered by Kang Moon Kweon with a penalty corner set-piece deflection in the 68th minute.

    RESULTS -- Final: South Korea 4 India 3; Third-Fourth: Malaysia 1 Pakistan 3.
    ROLL OF HONOUR -- Man of the Match (final): Kang Moon Kweon (S Korea)
    Best Goalkeeper: PR Sreejesh (India)
    Top Scorer: Jang Jong Hyun (Korea, eight goals)
    Most Outstanding Player:  VR Raghunath (India)
    Fairplay: Japan.

Malaysia fourth again..

MALAYSIA'S quest to lay their hands on the Asia Cup bronze fell flat, as Pakistan played with more zest to claim it on a 3-1 score at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday.
   The hosts, who had qualified for the World Cup, were beaten in all departments by Pakistan who will sit out their first World Cup since its inception in 1971.
    "I am disappointed with the way we finished in this tournament as there was someting lacking in attack and also our penalty corners conversion rate was at its worst.
   "Something needs to be done in these two areas (finishing and penalty corners) if we want to achieve results in future," said Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
   Coach Paul Revington echoed the sentiments: "Yes, the penalty corner conversion rate was not as expected but Razie (Rahim) and Faizal (Saari's) shoulders are sore from flicking in this tournament.
    "Once they recover, we will work on them further to improve their flicks," said Revington.
    The first overhead flick won Malaysia a penalty corner in the first minute, but Razie Rahim's attempt was deflected by goalkeeper Salman Akbar and the ball hit the top bar and sailed out.
   And in the second minute, the clouds opened up and heavy rain made play much more difficult.
    Malaysia had lost 4-1 to Pakistan in the group stages, but looked much more dangerous than Pakistan in the bronze battle. Only heavy rain made it difficult for both sides to score.
   For the record, Malaysia lost the Asia Cup bronze medal  to China in the last edition in Kuantan 7-6 on penalty strokes after being held 3-3 in regulation time.
    The heavy rain never let up in the first half, making hitting and pushing almost impossible as Malaysia  keep defending penalty corners, and reduced to counter attacks in the final five minutes.
    Faizal Saari finally gave Malaysia the lead in the 34th minute with a diving attempt, but right after the restart, Pakistan's Haseem Khan nailed the equaliser with a field attempt, as the scoreboard clock showed seven seconds to half-time.
   After the breather, the rain finally stops, and Pakistan move forward to increase their lead. And they finally score in the 54nd minute off their fifth penalty corner when Muhammed Imran sent in a powerful drive.
     More misery crept into the Malaysian bench, as immediately after the restart, a Malaysian goal was disallowed, while in the 56th minute, Razie Rahim scores an own goal to make the score 3-1 for Pakistan.
   And in the following minutes, Pakistan goalkeeper Salman Akbar brings out five super saves to send Malaysia reeling on their knees.

Bronze to Pakistan..

MALAYSIA'S quest to lay their hands on the Asia Cup bronze fell flat, as Pakistan
played with more zest to claim it on a 3-1 score at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh
   The hosts, who had qualified for the World Cup, were beaten in all departments by

Pakistan who will sit out their first World Cup since its inception in 1971.

Predictable till the end

REGIMENTAL: Malaysia’s inability to vary penalty corners costs them heavily in Asia Cup

MALAYSIA paid the price for being stereotype and regimental in their  approach against India in their Asia Cup semi-final at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium on Friday.
The 2-0 defeat has now relegated Paul Revington's men to battle Pakistan for the bronze medal.
Stereotype to the hilt in penalty corners, all 25 that they won in the four matches in Ipoh were direct flick attempts by either Razie Rahim of Faizal Saari.
There was never a single set-piece attempt, which had resulted in many goals in previous tournaments including the World League Semi-finals.
And the fact that Malaysia have the services of drag flick coach Adel Fuentes of Argentina might have some influence on the decision to do away with indirect attempts, where normally the goals come after deflections from either Azlan Misron or Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin's sticks.
The team were also regimental in their attack, where the forwards kept missing sitters after receiving crosses from the right, or left.
There was never an attempt to change the attacking plan in the entire 70 minutes against India.
"Definitely disappointed with the outcome of the match, and even though we have already qualified for the World Cup, we were looking for the Asia Cup gold medal before starting against India.
"We missed too many chances, and were relegated to the bronze medal match for missing sitters," said Revington.
India coach Roelant Oltmans summed up the difference between his team and Malaysia.
"After South Korea beat Pakistan in the first semi-final, we knew to a certain degree that we had already qualified for the World Cup, well, unless Papua New Guinea or Samoa beat New Zealand and Australia to the Oceania Cup title.
"But I thought that is a different tournament and we had the Asia Cup semi-finals to play for after that. And I could sense in the pre-match meeting that my players wanted to win the semi-final badly, and they achieved it with precision attacking," said Roelant.
Precision was the word, as India scored off their first penalty corner, and the second attempt was a rare counter-attack break which caught all the outfield Malaysian players in the Indian half -- and goalkeeper S.Kumar was outnumbered.
On the other hand, at least 10 sitters came Malaysia's way, but the forwards bungled them all by taking wild shots and even wilder swings.
Yes, Malaysia have qualified for the Netherlands World Cup next year after a 12-year hiatus, but the buildup must start with the Asia Cup bronze today.
After which, Revington must prepare his team to avoid embarrassing hammerings, like the 6-0 against Germany in the World League.