Sunday, March 24, 2019

Azlan Shah Cup: Malaysia died in Jakarta -- Aikman

Pic: Siegfried Aikman.

KUALA LUMPUR: Japan coach Siegfried Aikman said Malaysia died they day they lost  the gold medal in the Jakarta Asian Games, and the team needs all the support it can to rise again.
  The Dutch said this after India beat Japan 2-0 in the curtain raiser of the 28th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
  Japan next meet Malaysia today (Sunday).
  "I hope the fans turn up in full force to support their team as Malaysia need all the help they can to rise from the bottom again.
  "They (hockey) died the day we beat them to the Asian Games gold medal in Jakarta, and by saying this, I mean their mental strength died that faithful day.
  "Malaysia reached rock-bottom in their hockey in Jakarta, and this is the best chance for them to rise again," said Aikman.
  Japan played a solid defensive game against world No 5 India, who only got two shots at goal and scored both. India also could only win two penalty corners.
  "We lost 8-0, 9-0 and 3-2 to India in our last three encounters, so today's 2-0 was an improvement, and if we meet India again, we will beat them," said Aikman.
  The only difference in the match was Varun Kumar's 24th minute penalty corner, and Simranjeet Singh's diving deflection into goal in the 55th minute.
  "India are much better than Malaysia, and so I expect a better match from my players tomorrow (today). And I want the fans to show up in force, as my players would also benefit playing in an electric atmosphere," said Aikman.
  India coach David John did not attend the press conference and sent his skipper Manpreet Singh instead.
  "Japan gave us very little chances, and we took the few that came out way and won the match. I believe by the time they host the Olympics (2020), Japan would be ready to put up a good fight," said Manpreet.

Azlan Shsh Cup: The Saari Show

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: A brotherly act help subdue a fighting Poland before Malaysia went ahead to win 5-1 in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh Saturday.
  Poland, who arrived a day before the tournament started, after travelling for 48 hours from wintry conditions, defended stoutly for 15 minutes before Malaysia finally got their bearings straight in the second quarter.
  Faizal Saari scored off Malaysia's first penalty corner in the 20th minute, while brother Fitri nailed a field goal in the 28th.
  It was Faizal again in the 30th minute to make it 3-0, before Poland scored off a penalty corner attempt five seconds from half-time.
  After the breather, Ashran Hamsani got the fourth in the 36th, and Faizal scored his well-deserved hat-trick in the 45th minute. 
  Malaysia next play Japan, who lost to India 2-0 in an earlier match.
  "It was a good start to the tournament and my three goals today (yesterday) were also because of the one week training in Kuantan under Dutch penalty corner specialist Taeke Taekema," said Faizal.
  "Everything happened well, and this is what we are looking for in this team. The structure was well organised, and nothing more or nothing less, as we have many more matches to play," said Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans.
  "Naturally we were a little tired from travelling and could not match the speedy Malaysian's. And since we were a last minute replacement (for South Africa) and so our preparation were not very good.
  "We love it here, and the tournament is very prestigious for us and even if we had received a call-up two days before the tournament, we would have rushed to make the trip.
  "We have been welcome with open arms here and we really appreciate it. This is not the full squad, some players had work obligations as well as studies.
  "We could not bring five regulars, but I am not complaining as it gives a chance for the others to show their skills," said Poland coach Karol Sniezek.


                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
MALAYSIA        1  1  0  0  5  1  3
S KOREA         1  1  0  0  6  3  3
INDIA           1  1  0  0  2  0  3
JAPAN           1  0  0  1  0  2  0
CANADA          1  0  0  1  3  6  0
POLAND          1  0  0  1  1  5  0

  RESULTS: India 2 Japan 0, Canada 3 South Korea 6, Malaysia 5 Poland 1.

Azlan Shah Cup: Korea snatch early favourites tag

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: South Korea grabbed the early favourites tag with a 6-3 win over Canada in the Azlan Shah Cup Saturday.
  South Korea 17th in the World, outclassed 10th ranked Canada in very department, especially fitness, until the last quarter.
  Kim Jung Hoo (14th), Lee Namyong (19th, 31st, 43rd) and Jang Jong Hyun (20th, 44th) scored for the Koreans.
  Jang had recently scored 22 goals to help Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) to win the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Charity Shield as well as TNB Cup.
  Canada made a strong comeback in the last 15 minutes with goals from Matthew Sarmento (45th), Adam Froese (45th) and Fin Boothroyd (50th), but the clock ran out on them.
  South Korean coach Shin Seok Kyo is now looking forward to erase his team's Asian Games nightmare by lifting the title.
  "We finished fourth in Jakarta which was very bad by out standards and now we are rebuilding the team starting with fitness. We want to become champions here, because our last title in 2010 (Joint champions with India after thunderstorm disrupted the final) is too long ago.
  "We need a big boost here before we plan for the FIH Series Finals in France in June (Olympic Qualifier)," said Shin.
  As for Canada coach Paul Bundy, the score did not matter, as he is here to try out some new players as well as new tactics.
  "After the Bhubaneswar World Cup, we decided that we can't continue playing our normal style if we want to progress. That's why we have brought five young players and are working on new format and tactics.
  "Credit to Korea because they scored some world class goals, and credit to my players also for trying to make a comeback, but I'm still not happy with the overhead flick decisions.
  "The rule was introduced in the World Cup, but until today, the decisions vary according to different umpires. There is no consistency, and this could lead to injuries," said Bundy.
  South Korea next play Poland at 4pm Sunday, and their recovery and fitness will be put to test after they gave their all against Canada.