Friday March 15, 2013
Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: Malaysia now need a draw against India to book berth
By S. RAMAGURU
IPOH: Malaysia squandered the chance to qualify for the final of the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Pakistan at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium yesterday.
Malaysia were on course for a ticket to the final until they allowed Pakistan to snatch the equaliser late into the game.
Earlier, Australia and South Korea played out a 3-3 draw which leaves the Aussies and the Malaysians needing a draw in their last match to qualify for the showdown.
Meanwhile, defending champions New Zealand put themselves back in contention for a final berth with a 2-0 win over India.
The Kiwis will play Australia while Malaysia meet India tomorrow.
Malaysian coach Paul Revington was happy with the performance of the players but felt they should not have squandered their lead.
ďThere is still the match on Saturday for us to get a result. It will be tough as India will be out to beat us. But the players have made me proud with this performance and I believe that we have what it takes to play at this level,Ē said Revington.
It was the Malaysians who started off strongly and in the sixth minute earned their first penalty corner. Faizal Saari scored with a low attempt for his third goal of the tournament.
Pakistan earned three penalty corners in a row from the 11th minute and they made good with their third attempt in the 14th minute with Mohamed Imran getting the better of Malaysian goalkeeper S. Kumar with a direct attempt.
The second half saw action from end to end with both sides using their speed in their counter attacks.
Malaysia again took the lead in the 53rd minute with Mohamed Razie Rahim scoring off a penalty corner. But just as the Malaysians were taking command of the match, Pakistan earned their fifth corner and Shafqat Rasool scored to make it 2-2.
Meanwhile, defending champions New Zealand stayed in the hunt for a final berth.
Two second half goals was enough to give the Kiwis full points. Andy Hayward was on target in the 40th minute off a penalty corner while Cory Bennett scored in the 57th minute to beat a lacklustre India.
Now the Kiwis must beat world champions Australia to secure one of the final berths.
World champions Australia were forced to wait until the outcome of their last match tomorrow to know their fate for a final berth after South Korea held them to a 3-3 draw in an earlier match.
In fact, the Australians had to come up with a last minute goal to earn the draw. The Koreans led for much of the match and unfortunately a last minute penalty corner put paid to their hopes of full points.
The Koreans took the lead in the 35th minute through a penalty corner conversion by Nam Hyun-woo.
Joshua Miller pulled a goal back in the 40th minute but a scramble in the D in the 44th minute saw an own goal scored by Nicholas Budgeon giving the advantage back to the Koreans. Lee Seung-il then added the third goal.
Miller reduced the deficit in the 58th minute and then came the drama as in the very last minute Timothy Deavin scored with the last penalty corner of the match by diving down to deflect in a shot.
Australian coach Ric Charlesworth said that they had themselves to blame as they allowed the match to get out of hand.
ďWe didnít play well in the first half and that probably cost us in the end. I am happy that we managed to get a draw, as that is better than a defeat. But still there were instances in the match where we should have put away the chances.
ďIt is difficult when you play a team who are overly defensive. It is a good learning curve for the players. Thatís why we are here anyway,Ē he said.