Monday, March 17, 2014

Faizal steers Malaysia to win..

MALAYSIA survived an early scare, yet again, to beat Canada 3-1 and keep their hopes of playing in the final of the Azlan Shah Cup alive and kicking.
   There were plenty of desperate moments, when the Malaysian players started to collect cards in their attempts to stop the Canadians, but a refreshed second half approach won them the crucial three points.
    Malaysia started on a super note as they attacked relentlessly for the first five minutes, and were rewarded when the partnership of Marhan Jalil and Faizal Saari clicked in the fourth minute itself.
   A darting solo run from Marhan, was followed by a deft pass to Faizal which only needed a deflection past goalkeeper David Carter for the lead.
   There was another chance to seal the match early, when Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin won the first penalty corner in the seventh minute, but Faizal flicked it over the bar.
   Canada came out of their shell, and won their first penalty corner in the 15th minute, and Adam Froese perfected it past goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman for the equaliser.
   Cheered on by a full gallery at the Azlan Shah Stadium, Malaysia were supposed to play much better but started collecting cards instead, and giving the Canadians the advantage. First Izzat Hakimi was shown the green for rough paly in the 22nd minute, then Faizal Saari was yellow carded in the 24th minute for hitting Jagdish Gill.
    And then in the 32nd minute, Azri Hassan was yellow carded, but still, Malaysia held on to the 1-1 score going into the dressing room.
    The team again walked out of the dressing room looking confident, like they did when they were down 0-2 to South Korea and eventually drew the match at 2-2.
   And in the 46th minute, Malaysian won their fourth penalty corner and a dummy from Shahril Saabah saw Faizal netting his brace to give Malaysia the lead again.
   Faizal and his mates had many more chances to increase the lead, but the Canadian goalkeeper David played a solid second half to deny them.
   And the one-goal lead was too slim going into the last five minutes of the match, but Ahmad Kazamirul made sure the win belonged to Malaysia when he scored a field goal in the 67th minute. Man-of-the-match was aptly awarded to Faizal Saari.
    Meanwhile World No 1 Australia demolished South Africa 7-0 to move closer to playing in the final. The Australians have nine points after three matches as they had whitewashed China 7-0 and Canada 6-0 in earlier matches.
   RESULTS: South Africa 0 Australia 7, China 2 South  Korea 3, Malaysia 3 Canada 1.

                       P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
AUSTRALIA    3   3  0   0  20  0   9
S KOREA         3   2  1   0  8  4   7
MALAYSIA      3  2  1   0  8   5     7
CHINA             3   1  0   2  7  10    3
CANADA         3   0  0   3  1   12   0
S AFRICA        3   0  0   3  2  15  0

     March 18: REST DAY.
     March 19: Canada v South Africa (6pm), Malaysia v China  (8pm).
    March 20: Canada v China (6pm), South Korea v Australia  (8pm).
    March 21: REST DAY.
    March 22: Australia v Malaysia (6pm), South Africa v South  Korea (8pm).

Australia score 20 goals in three matches...

The Kookaburras maintained their 100% record in game three of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on Monday with a resounding 7-0 over Commonwealth Games opponents South Africa.
Despite being held deadlocked at 0-0 for the first half hour of the match, the Kookaburras took advantage of three opportunities in quick succession to go in 3-0 ahead at the break. Trent Mitton opened the scoring just a day after his 50th appearance for Australia before Jamie Dwyer fired a powerful tomahawk into the far corner for 2-0. Nick Budgeon continued his impressive record of at least a goal in every match with a 35th minute penalty corner taking his tally to five for the tournament.
Dwyer’s commitment at the near post allowed him to steal in to sweep home for 4-0 after excellent work from fellow Athens 2004 veteran Rob Hammond down the right before Chris Ciriello announced his return with a low penalty corner flick.
Daniel Beale added his name to the score sheet in the 58th minute with a composed upright tomahawk to make it 6-0 and just four minutes later captain Mark Knowles got in on the act with a thumping drive for 7-0.
The Kookaburras’ next match is against Korea on Thursday. It begins at 11pm AEDT / 8pm AWST.