Monday March 18, 2013
Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: Malaysia play bridesmaid role again despite fighting display
By S. RAMAGURU
IPOH: Malaysia again ended up as bridesmaid in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup when they lost 3-2 to Australia in the final at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium last night.
And the defeat came at the very last second of the match as the Australians staged a fightback to score the match winner through Trent Mitton. It was Australiaís seventh title in the series while for Malaysia it was their fourth final defeat.
The Malaysians can take heart that they were never outclassed by the Australians.
It didnít take long for Malaysia to get into the lead. They earned a penalty corner in the second minute but that only resulted in another when the save was deemed a foul.
The second attempt in the third minute saw Faizal Saariís drag flick powerful enough to beat Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter.
The Malaysians continued to attack as the Australians regrouped in defence and then started launching attacks from deep defence.
It was not until the 29th minute that their efforts paid off. They earned their first penalty corner and Nicholas Budgeonís drag flick was strong to beat S. Kumar in goal.
Before the Malaysians can settle down the Australians struck again. This time it was Craig Boyne who delivered the killer blow in the 30th minute. Malaysia again started off strongly in the second half and had two penalty corners within the first five minutes. The Australians saved both attempts.
But in the 49th minute the Malaysians drew level when Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin scored with a field attempt.
Both sides had chances to get the goals but for most parts the defence stood out with their timely interceptions.
Then came the death knell for the Malaysians at the very end of the game with Trent Mitton scoring the winner.
South Korea finished in third place after overcoming New Zealand 2-1 in the classification match earlier.
South Korea took the lead in the 33rd minute through a penalty corner converted by Hyun Hye Sung. Then, New Zealand got the equaliser in the 41st minute through Stephen Jenness but Korea disputed the goal and that led to a temporary suspension of play for five minutes.
But good sense prevailed and the game resumed which saw the Koreans regain the lead in the 58th minute when Nam Hyun Woo converted a penalty corner.
That, however, proved to be the winner as the Koreans survived two late penalty corners to clinch the bronze medal.
Before that India defeated Pakistan 4-2 to take fifth spot. They had also defeated Pakistan 3-1 in the league match and for the Pakistanis it was the second successive year that they had finished last in the tournament.
Pakistan took the lead through Mohamed Imran in the eighth minute but that only served to spur the Indians as they started to dominate the play. Two minutes later Rupinder Pal Singh scored from the penalty corner and he also went on to score the fourth goal in the 62nd minute to take his tally in the tournament to six goals.
Akashdeep Singh and Malak Singh scored Indiaís second and third goals in the 35th and 43rd minutes respectively while Kashif Shah was on target for the Pakistanis in the 46th.