Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Malaysia 3 England 1; India 4 Pakistan 0

MALAYSIA beat England 3-1 for their third consecutive win in the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.
    But it was not a comprehensive win, as coach K, Dharmaraj's boys dominated every department except the final killer touch to score goals when presented with sitters.
   Goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman was the player of the match as he bought out some super saves to hand Malaysia the win.
   The team received a standing ovation from the full stadium, as they warmed down.
   Everybody was happy with the win, but Dharmaraj is still looking for more from his charges.
    "It is good that we won our third consecutive match, but I am still not happy with the overall performance of the team as my players missed too many penalty corners and also sitters.
   "This is our team which is going to play in the (New Delhi) World Cup and they can't continue playing like they did today," said Dharmaraj.
    The coach also said their real test starts today against Pakistan and India on Sunday.
    "We have nine points, but the real test for my players is gainst India and Pakistan who both have matured players and even before the tournament started we knew that we need to beat these two teams to indicate our preparations for the World Cup," said Dharmaraj.
   It was a first half full of zest and determination, but Malaysia only had one goal to show after 35 minutes as the forward-line kept bungling their chances.
   Malaysia had three penalty corners, against England's one, and scored off their third attempt in the ninth minute.
   Shahril Saabah's whole-body drive went crashing into the back of the net, and the crowd expected more goals to follow, but the game turned robust instead, with Kavin Kartik receiving a blow to his jaw which drew blood.
   But the score remained as they trooped into the dressing room, with a slim lead.
    After the breather, England were as robust as ever, and the smaller built Malaysians went tumbling all over the pitch when push-came-to shove.
    In the 41st minute, Malaysia's Firhan Ashaari and England's Rhys Goodfield were flashed the yellow card as the game turned physical.
   Malaysia started to look more dangerous as the game progressed, and off the fifth penalty corner in the 43rd minute, Kavin Kartik's push was deflected in by Izad Hakimi for a 2-0 cushion.
    There was never any doubt after that goal, that Malaysia would not nail full points, but Shahril Saabah made sure with another sizzling penalty corner drive which almost tore the netting in the 56th minute.
    England tried to make a comeback into the match, and scored their consolation in the 60th minute when their skipper Peter Bull perfected a penalty corner, but the comeback was too late as the clock died on them.

                                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
MALAYSIA               3   3   0  0  12  4   9
INDIA                       3   3   0  0  9  3   9
PAKISTAN                3   2   0  1  9  6   6
ARGENTINA              3   0   1  2  6  9   1
S KOREA                   3   0   1  2  3  10   1
ENGLAND                 3   0   0  3  4  11   0

   RESULTS -- Argentina 2 South Korea 2, Malaysia 3 England 1, India 4 Pakistan 0.
    Sept 26: England v Argentina (4pm), South Korea v India (6pm), Malaysia v Pakistan (8pm).
    Sept 28: Argentina v Pakistan (4pm), India v Malaysia (6pm), South Korea v England (8pm).
    Sept 20: Final and placing matches.