Sunday, October 22, 2017

ASIA CUP: India is just one step ahead...

MALAYSIA gave their best, but still it was not enough to deny India the Asia Cup gold medal in Dhaka, Bangladesh, yesterday.
  After reaching the final for the first time in 35 years, India denied glory with a 2-1 victory.
  The national players were placed in a tight spot in the third minute itself, when Ramandeep Singh scored the opening goal, and the 6-2 drubbing in the round robin came to mind.
  Midfield was completely missing, like in the first three quarters against South Korea, and India players had a field day breaking into the semicircle to take pot shots at goalkeeper S. Kumar.
  Kumar brought off a handful of super saves, before India took a 2-0 lead off Lalit Upadhyay in the 29th and the score remained until the half-time break.
  Shahril Saabah ignited the fight-back with a field goal in the 50th minute, and India protested, but lost their video referral as well.
   And with three minutes left in the match, coach Stephen van Huizen took out goalkeeper S. Kumar for an extra outfield player in a last gasp attempt to draw the match and take it to penalty shoot out.
  The tactic worked in Malaysia's famous 1-1 draw against South Korea, but even though it pinned India in their own semi-circle, Malaysia failed to score.

ASIA CUP: Malaysia in the final!


MALAYSIA diced with danger for 59 minutes before holding South Korea to a famous 1-1 draw to advance into the Asia Cup final for the first time since 1982.
  South Korea needed a win, while Malaysia a draw to advance.
  Yang Jihun 24th minute low penalty corner push hit goalkeeper S. Kumar's pads and slipped in, to keep the Koreans World Cup dream alive.
   But the day belonged to Malaysia, as a 59th minute penalty corner goal from Faizal Shaari was enough to play against India Sunday.
 India had beaten Pakistan 4-0 earlier.
 However, it was Malaysia's worse game of the tournament as they made too many errors for almost the entire part of the match, until coach Stephen van Huizen took out goalkeeper S. Kumar and replaced him with a kicking back with three minutes to end.
  Pressured by numbers, Korea gave away a 59th minute penalty corner and Faizal Shaari made sure by almost tearing the netting.
  "This is what the entire team had wanted -- to play in the final -- and even though there was a lot of drama on and off the pitch (rain delay) today, we achieved our target.
  "Now, for some well deserved rest, before we play India."
  India had beaten Malaysia 6-2 in the round robin.
  Malaysia, India and Pakistan have already qualified for the World Cup via the World League format.
  South Korea needed to win the Asia Cup gold to make the grade.
  India coach Sjoerd Marijne said: "We had a good game against Malaysia in the round robin (won 6-2) and it would be nice to see if we can match that performance again in the final again."
  And India skipper Manpreet Singh felt that they had to play their own game, and not think of the opponent.
  "My style of play is to rally my men to play and stick to our game style. We don't let the opponents dictate and we will be doing the same against Malaysia in the final," said Manpreet.
   India were not their usual self early in the match, while Pakistan were more determined to score in this rain interrupted match.
  The stakes were high, as India only needed a draw while Pakistan were playing for pride after they lost 3-1 in Group A.
  Satbir Singh finally breaks the duck in the 39th minute off a goalmouth melee, and India were back in command.
   Harmanpreet Singh (51st), Lalit Upadhyay (52nd) and Gurjant Singh (57th) scored the other goals.


               P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
INDIA          3  2  1  0  11 3  7
MALAYSIA       3  1  1  1  6  7  4
S KOREA        3  0  3  0  3  3  3
PAKISTAN       3  0  1  2  3  11 1

  RESULTS: Malaysia 1 South Korea 1, India 4 Pakistan 0.
  SUNDAY: Final -- Malaysia v India (7.30pm); Third-Fourth: Pakistan v South Korea (3pm).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

ASIA CUP: South Korea hold India 1-1

AS EXPECTED South Korea came out of their cocoon to hold India 1-1 in the round robin of the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh Wednesday.
  The Koreans, battling to qualify for the World Cup, played controlled hockey against world No 6 India.
  India, Malaysia and Pakistan have qualified for the 2018 World Cup, and Korea need the gold medal in their hands to make the cut.
  Lee Jungjun's 41st minute reverse stick flick gave Korea the lead, but with three minutes remaining in the match, India removed their goalkeeper and used a kicking-back, and Gurjant Singh scored the equaliser in the 60th minute to share points.
  Thursday, Malaysia will play South Korea.

RESULTS: Malaysia 3 Pakistan 2, India 1 South Korea 1.


               P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
MALAYSIA       1  1  0  0  3  2  3
INDIA          1  0  1  0  1  1  1
S KOREA        1  0  1  0  1  1  1
PAKISTAN       1  0  0  1  2  3  0


Oct 19: South Korea v Pakistan (5pm), Malaysia v India (7.30pm).
Oct 21: Malaysia v South Korea (5pm), India v Pakistan (7.30pm).
 Note: Malaysian time.

Monday, October 16, 2017


Oct 18: Malaysia v Pakistan (5pm), India v South Korea (7.30pm).
Oct 19: South Korea v Pakistan (5pm), Malaysia v India (7.30pm).
Oct 21: Malaysia v South Korea (5pm), India v Pakistan (7.30pm).

ASIA CUP: Korea check into round robin

SOUTH KOREA struggled for long periods, before beating a stubborn China 4-1 to become the last team to qualify for the Asia Cup round robin in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday.
  The other teams which will play in the medal round are Malaysia, India and Pakistan.
  Olympian Jang Jong-hyun saved the day with two goals in the 10th and 43rd minutes while Kim Seong-kyu (47th) and Yang Jihun (57th) scored the other two.
  The China goal was scored by Du Talake (38th). 
  RESULTS -- GROUP B: Malaysia 7 Oman 1, China 1 South Korea 4.


            P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
INDIA       3  3  0  0  15 2  9
PAKISTAN    3  1  1  1  10 5  4
JAPAN       3  1  1  1  6  8  4
BANGLADESH  3  0  0  3  1  17 0

            P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
MALAYSIA    3  3  0  0  16 3  9
S KOREA     3  2  0  1  12 5  6
CHINA       3  1  0  2  4  12 3
OMAN        3  0  0  3  4  16 0

ASIA CUP: Malaysia 7 Oman 1

MALAYSIA toyed around with Oman but still won 7-1 to remain unbeaten in Group A of the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh Monday.
  It was Malaysia's 13th straight victory over Oman, and an improvement over the 6-1 drubbing in the World League Round Two at the same venue in March.
  With nine points after three matches, Malaysia topped Group A and will now challenge for a medal in the round robin matches. 
  Malaysia played to avoid injuries, while Oman played a robust game, but after Faizal Shaari scored in the 16th minute, the match became lopsided.
  Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin tucked in the second in the 18th minute, and Shahril Saabah made it 3-0 off a 20th minute penalty corner.
  The other goals were scored by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (23rd), Fazial (27th), Amirol Arshad (40th), Najmi Jazlan (42nd), 
  Oman got their consolation off Salmeen Al Nofali (25th).

ASIA CUP: Keep Calm and Play Hockey


THE Asia Cup has never been Malaysa's favourite hunting ground, as in nine previous editions, only one bronze medal was won in 2007 in Chennai, India.
  Malaysia made the semi-finals six times, but failed to advance to the final. The not so proud record has five fourth placings.
  The tournament brings together the best in Asia, and is a World Cup qualifier. South Korea is the most successful team with four gold medals, with the most recent in 2013 in Ipoh.
  The Koreans have used the Cup wisely to qualify for the World Cup 
four times, but are one of the Asian giants fighting with an aged team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India.
  India, Pakistan and Malaysia qualified via the World League, while China also has a good chance to play in the World Cup, but South Korea must win the gold medal in Dhaka to claim their spot.
  And Malaysia dealt them a big blow with a hard-fought 2-1 win, and now Korea must beat China on Monday to play in the Round Robbin.
  This Malaysian side has shown team and fighting spirit which has been missing for the last decade.
  The Koreans pushed hard, even played robust and some say dirty hockey to find the equaliser in the third quarter, but Malaysia stood their ground.
  Even in London in the World League Semifinals, Malaysia scored early and then defended with their lives to beat South Korea 1-0.
  There is something magical in the way this Malaysian team attacks and defends in numbers.
  After two matches, the team has made few mistakes, but still, the Koreans showed that Malaysia is not ready in one aspect.
  When pushed to the limit, the Malaysian players seem to fall back into their old mentality -- making school-boy mistakes in their own 25-yard even though they have the lead.
  This is dangerous, as India and Pakistan as well as South Korea are masters in making players from the other team lose their cool by playing robust and sometimes 'dirty' hockey.
  Dirty here means agitating players with little nudges, and nippy hits while dribbling past, which does not cause injury but anger to the opposite side.
  Malaysia were put to this test in the last minute by South Korea and even experienced Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, normally a very cool player, lost his mind and retaliated.
  With 26 seconds left on the clock and South Korea winning a free hit just outside the scoring circle, Tengku Ahmad was sent out with a yellow card for retaliating a shoulder bump.
  This is what Malaysia can expect in the Round Robin. Robust, sometimes 'dirty' play from the Asian masters.
  And it looks like Malaysia must beat India, Pakistan and South Korea in the Round Robin -- by keeping their cool when pushed and irritated to the limit.

ASIA CUP: Ponacha knows the score...

OMAN coach A.K. Ponacha, from India, knows that his men are in for a torrid 60 minutes in their last Group B match of the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh, today.
  Statistics are too damning for Oman to even dream of pulling off an upset. 
  Malaysia beat China 7-1, while Oman lost to China 2-1. 
  Malaysia beat South Korea 2-1, while Oman were hammered 7-2 by South Korea.
  "We know its going to be the toughest Group B match for us, but on the other hand, we have nothing to lose but much to gain by playing against higher ranked opponents," said Ponacha.
  The part-time Oman players are ranked 30th in the world, while a professional and full-time Malaysian squad is 12th.
  "Most of our players are working either with the Army or Police and we get together during weekends to train. And before the Asia Cup, they were preparing for the Indoor Asia Cup (in Qatar, April) so we trained whenever we could after the indoor," said Ponacha.
  Interestingly, in the Indoor Asia Cup, Malaysia beat Oman 7-5 in the fifth-sixth classification match even though we have only recently taken up the indoor game to prepare for the Sea Games.
  Oman will be beaten today, only the score is yet to be determined.

ASIA CUP: Oman warm-up for Super 4 crunch

MALAYSIA will use the last Group B match against Oman Monday as  warm-up for the Round Robbin of the Asia Cup.
  Coach Stephen van Huizen's men passed the group stage with flying colours when they hammered China 7-1 and then edged Asia Cup defending champions South Korea 2-1.
  Oman need a miracle to deny Malaysia full points to top the group, while for Malaysia, its how many goals they want to score.
  "No disrespect to the Oman players, as I aim to use this game as a warm-up before the 'real tournament' starts," said van Huizen.
  The top two teams in each group advance to the Round Robin where they play three more matches. The top two teams will then advance to the final.
  Oman has only played twice in the Asia Cup, with the last one being in Ipoh in 2013 where they ended sixth.
  "Our penalty corners are still not sharp, and we have one more match to get it right. The three matches in the Round Robbin is our true test, and we aim to pass the second stage with flying colours as well," said van Huizen.
  No 1 flicker Razie Rahim has been given many chances against China and Korea, but he has failed to deliver. Instead, No 2 flicker Faizal Shaari is more deadly in Dhaka.
  The other flickers which have yet to be used are Shahril Saabah and Najmi Jazlan.
  And it looks like van Huizen is keeping Shahril and Najmi for the second round.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

ASIA CUP; A toss between Korea and China

INDIA, Pakistan and Malaysia have qualified for the round robbin of the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  The fourth slot will be decided Monday when South Korea and China square off in Group B. South Korea only needs a draw while China must win to play in the medal round.
  On Sunday, India beat Pakistan 3-1 to top Group A. Pakistan and Japan ended the group stage on four points, but Pakistan advanced on a better goal average.
  It was India's third consecutive win against the Green Shirts this year, as in the London World League Semifinals India won 7-1 in the group stage and 6-1 in the 5th-6th classification.
  RESULTS: Group A: India 3 Pakistan 1, Japan 3 Bangladesh 1.


            P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
INDIA       3  3  0  0  15 2  9
PAKISTAN    3  1  1  1  10 5  4
JAPAN       3  1  1  1  6  8  4
BANGLADESH  3  0  0  3  1  17 0

            P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
MALAYSIA    2  2  0  0  9  2  6
S KOREA     2  1  0  1  8  4  3
CHINA       2  1  0  1  3  8  3
OMAN        2  0  0  2  3  9  0

Saturday, October 14, 2017

ASIA CUP: Malaysia in Round Robbin

RESULTS: Group B: Malaysia 2 South Korea 1; China 2 Oman 1.


            P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
INDIA       2  2  0  0  12 1  6
PAKISTAN    2  1  1  0  9  2  4
JAPAN       2  0  1  1  3  7  1
BANGLADESH  2  0  0  2  0  14 0

            P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
MALAYSIA    2  2  0  0  9  2  6
S KOREA     2  1  0  1  8  4  3
CHINA       2  1  0  1  3  8  3
OMAN        2  0  0  2  3  9  0

ASIA CUP: Malaysia beat Korea again...

MALAYSIA beat South Korea 2-1 Saturday to cement their spot in the Asia Cup Round Robin with a match to spare in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  On Monday, Malaysia will play Oman while South Korea will meet China in the final Group B matches.
  The Koreans sat back and soaked in the pressure for the first 10 minutes, but still, Malaysia could not find the much needed break.
  Only in the last five minutes of the first quarter did the Koreans break into the Malaysian semi-circle, but stout defending kept them at bay.
  The stakes were high for Korea, as they needed to win and keep their World Cup hopes alive, while Malaysia played with great composure to deny them.
  Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin finally gave Malaysia the break, when he deftly dribbled into the semicircle and won the second penalty corner, for Faizal Shaari to nail the opening goal, and his fourth of the tournament, in the 17th minute.
  Faizal again played a pivotal role when Malaysia won their third penalty corner. This time he pushed to the centre for a set-piece and even though the ball was stopped by goalkeeper Hong Doopyo, Azri Hassan tucked in the rebound in the 19th minute.
  However, Korea came back into the match in the 27th minute when Lee Seunghoon scored a field goal from close range.
  But Malaysia played in the remaining minutes to deny South Korea an equaliser.


Friday, October 13, 2017

ASIA CUP; India check in, Japan in trouble

INDIA hammered Bangladesh 7-0 to become the first team to qualify for the Round Robin of the Asia Cup in Bangladesh yesterday (Friday).
  In another Group A match Japan placed themselves in deep trouble when they played to a 2-2 draw against Pakistan.
  The draw made it difficult for Japan to reach the Round Robbin and challenge for a World Cup berth.
   Now, Japan must beat Bangladesh by a healthy margin in their last Group match on Sunday and hope India beats Pakistan to make the second round.
  Arslan Qadir (16th) and Umar Bhutta (50th) socored for Pakistan, while Kenta Tanaka (22nd) and Heita Yoshihara (29th) delivered for Japan.
  RESULTS: Group A -- Pakistan 2 Japan 2; India 7 Bangladesh 0.


            P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
INDIA       2  2  0  0  12 1  6
PAKISTAN    2  1  1  0  9  2  4
JAPAN       2  0  1  1  3  7  1
BANGLADESH  2  0  0  2  0  14 0

            P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
MALAYSIA    1  1  0  0  7  1  3
S KOREA     1  1  0  0  7  2  3
OMAN        1  0  0  1  2  7  0
CHINA       1  0  0  1  1  7  0

ASIA CUP: Japan in trouble waters...

JAPAN are in deep trouble after they played to a 2-2 draw against Pakistan in Group A of the Asia Cup in Bangladesh Friday.
  The draw has made it difficult for Japan to reach the Round Robbin and challenge for a World Cup berth.
   Now, Japan must hammer Bangladesh in their last match and hope India beats Pakistan to make the second round.
  Pakistan: Arslan Qadir 16th, Umar Bhutta 50th.
  Japan: Kenta Tanaka 22nd, Heita Yoshihara 29th,.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

ASIA CUP: Korea 7 Oman 2

RESULTS: Group B -- Malaysia 7 China 1; South Korea 7 Oman 2.


            P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
PAKISTAN    1  1  0  0  7  0  3
INDIA       1  1  0  0  5  1  3
JAPAN       1  0  0  1  1  5  0
BANGLADESH  1  0  0  1  0  7  0

            P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
MALAYSIA    1  1  0  0  7  1  3
S KOREA     1  1  0  0  7  2  3
OMAN        1  0  0  1  2  7  0
CHINA       1  0  0  1  1  7  0

ASIA CUP: Malaysia 7 China 1

MALAYSIA played a cool and controlled game under humid conditions to beat China 7-1 in the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday.
  Coach Stephen Van Huizen's men will next play South Korea on Saturday at 7.30pm Malaysian time and a win will ensure Malaysia's spot in the Round-Robbin.
  Man-of-the-match had to be seasoned campaigner Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, whose quick reflexes handed Malaysia the first goal.
  His goal came off a comedy of errors from China, as all their players in the semi-circle stopped playing, expecting the umpire to blow for a Malaysian penalty corner, but experienced Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin took the lull opportunity to slam in the ball.
  The 12th minute goal took off a heavy load from the Malaysian shoulders.
  China were never in the match after that, as Malaysia almost had total control of the ball and the second goal was scored in the 17th minute by Faizal Shaari.
  Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin scored the third off another classic attempt in the 19th minute and China were in deep trouble.
  Razie Rahim finally got his scoring touch right after the half-time break, when he sent in a sizzling drag flick to the roof of the goalmouth to make it 4-0 in the 31st minute.
  Shahril Saabah made it 5-0 in the 35th minute, while Faizal got his hat-trick in the 41st minute and Ramadan Rosli scored number seven to totally demolish the Great Wall.
  China scored their consolation off E Wenhui in the 56th minute.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

ASIA CUP: India starts with a bang...

INDIA hammered Japan 5-1 to keep a strong grip of Group A in the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh, yesterday.
  It was a slow start, as Japan held them 1-1 by the fourth minute, but India were ruthless after the second half.
  The India goals were scored by Sunil Sowmarpet (third), Lalit Upadhyay (22nd), Ramandeep Singh (33rd), Harmanpreet Singh (35th, 48th). 
  Japan got their consolation off Kenji Kitazato in the fourth minute.
  It was newly appointed coach Sjoerd Marijne’s first test after Roelant Oltmans was sacked just before the tournament and he got the desired result.