Saturday, October 17, 2015

SOJC: Now to keep bronze in Malaysia

MALAYSIA beat Pakistan 3-1 to book a date with Argentina in the third-fourth playoff of the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium Saturday.
  In the pool match, Malaysia and Argentina drew 2-2, but the bronze battle is expected to be tougher.
  India and Britain will play for the Fifth Edition gold.
  "This is the kind of commitment I am looking from my players in no only the remaining match against Argentina, but also in the Junior Asia Cup in Kuantan.
  "My boys took an early lead, and played well to defend it even though Pakistan placed them under tremendous pressure. Of course, we will be going for the bronze medal now, and Argentina are not invincible if we play our game," said Malaysian coach Arul Selvaraj.
  Malaysia scored two quick goals inside eight minutes to take a firm grip of the situation, and remained cool in the entire first half to deny Pakistan a comeback.
  Off the three penalty corners won in the first half, Shahril Saabah scored the first in the fourth, missed the second, and Najmi Jazlan tucked in the third penalty corner in the seventh minute.
  With a good lead, Malaysia toyed around with Pakistan and only relied on counter attacks, but could not increase the lead.
  Pakistan were the better team after the 10 minute break, but good goalkeeping from Ridzwan Azmi kept the score in favour of Malaysia.
  Shahril scored his seventh goal of the tournament to hand Malaysia a handsome lead, with a reverse stick attempt in the 62nd minute and Pakistan were doomed to play for the fifth-sixth against Australia.
  Pakistan scored their consolation in the 68th off Abu Mahmood, but time ran out on them. A final minute shoving and pushing saw Shahril and Pakistan goalkeeper Muhammad Khalid flashed the yellow card -- but it made no difference to the scoreline.
  India will play Britain in a repeat final, and a chance to lift a hat-trick of SOJC titles.
  Yesterday, Britain beat Argentina 3-0 while India beat Australia 1-0 in their final pool matches.
  In the final last year, the score was tied at 1-1 before India scored 45 seconds from time to lift their second title.
  "It will be a well contested final, as both teams are at their best right now. Britain has good structure, and my players must think out of the box to win," said India coach Harendra Singh.
  In the pool, India lost 3-4 to Britain.
  RESULTS: Argentina 0 Britain 3, Australia 0 India 1, Malaysia 3 Pakistan 1.
   TODAY: Fifth-Sixth: Pakistan v Australia (3.05pm); Third-Fourth: Malaysia v Argentina (5.35pm); Final: India v Britain (8.35pm).

               P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
INDIA          5  4  0  1  14 8  12
BRITAIN        5  3  2  0  15 9  11
MALAYSIA       5  2  1  2  11 11 7
ARGENTINA      5  2  1  2  8  9  7
AUSTRALIA      5  1  1  3  12 11 4
PAKISTAN       5  0  1  4  5  17 1 

SOJC: Good tournament for Malaysia

INDIA coach Harendra Singh walked into the Press Conference after beating Malaysia 2-1 in the Sultan of Johor Cup and surprised the gallery when he congratulated Malaysia for their fighting spirit.
  "First of all, congratulations to Malaysia for giving us such a good fight. It was a close game and penalty corners won us the match," said Harendra.
 Back-to-back SOJC champions India are on course for their hat-trick of titles, but not before Malaysia gave them a fight of their lives.
  Even though Malaysia will not be playing in the final of the SOJC, but fighting with Pakistan for the third-fourth classification spot, coach Arul Selvaraj's charges have shown tremendous progress in just four matches.
  Starting with a 4-2 defeat in the hands of Britain, Malaysia's graph went upwards when they held Argentina 2-2 and then beat Australia 3-2.
  Against India, the only mistake Malaysia made were to give away too many penatly corners, and were punished by two goals from Harmanpreet Singh.
  It were the first two goals of the tournament for Harmanpreet, whose penalty corners were not effective in the earlier matches.
  Comparatively, Shahril Saabah scored his fifth penalty corner goal against India and is second on the top-scorers list.
  Malaysia and India are in Group A of the Junior Asia Cup, where the semi-finalists are assured of a spot in the New Delhi Junior World Cup next year.
   The other teams in Group A are Japan and China. The teams in Group B are Pakistan, South Korea, Oman and Bangladesh.
   "We are in the same group as India in the Junior Asia Cup so this match was very important for our players to get a feel before the cruncher in Kuantan," said Malaysian coach Arul Selvaraj.
  The Asia Cup format is in line with the International Hockey Federation (FIH), where all eight teams will play in the quarter-finals, and one win here will place the team in the Junior World Cup.
  Thats why the match aganst Pakistan today, our possible cross-over opponents in Kuantan, is not just another fixture to complete.
  "We will have two missions in the match against Pakistan. First is to to beat them and hopefull play in the third-fourth classification. And secondly, size them up for the Junior Asia Cup," said Arul.
  Pakistan's only fabulous run in this tournament was 0-0 draw with Britain.
  However, Arul must keeep his fingers crossed that India beat Australia in the earlier match, and only then will the door open for Malaysia as Australia have a better goal-average.
  But if the equations go wrong today, Arul can still take comfort in playing Pakistan twice, in the fifth-sixth classification -- for two 'friendlies' before the Junior World Cup qualifier.    
 SATURDAY: Argentina v Britain (4.35pm), Australia v India (6.3pm), Malaysia v Pakistan (8.35pm).


               P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
INDIA          4  3  0  1  13 8  9
BRITAIN        4  2  2  0  12 9  8
ARGENTINA      4  2  1  1  8  6  7
AUSTRALIA      4  1  1  2  12 10 4
MALAYSIA       4  1  1  2  8  10 4
PAKISTAN       4  0  1  3  4  14 1