Malaysia completed their round robin campaign at the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with a 3-2 victory against Canada at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, Ipoh tonight.
With this win, Malaysia will meet Canada again in the 3rd/4th placing match tomorrow. Malaysia finished in third with nine points after five matches while Canada ended the mini league in fourth placing with six points.The Speedy Tigers, intent on making amends after their two losses against India and Korea, which denied them a place in the final, went ahead through a field goal by Muhammad Firhan Ashari in the sixth minute.
Firhan managed to tap home a rebound after goalkeeper, David Carter’s heroics in the circle to spark scenes of jubilation among the faithful Ipoh crowd.
Canada fought back and equalized at the last action of the first quarter through a penalty corner converted by Gordon Johnston.
Two minutes upon the restart, a Muhammad Razie Abd Rahim low shot through a penalty corner put Malaysia back in front. It was Razie’s fourth goal in the tournament, making him Malaysia’s second highest goal scorer after Faizal Saari with five goals.
When Canada earned their second penalty corner, it was Johnston again who sent the ball high into goalkeeper, Muhammad Zaimi Mat Deris net to level the score 2-2 after 22 minutes.
A minute later, Malaysia again got their noses in front through a penalty stroke by Mohd Fitri Saari. It was Fitri’s second overall in the championship after scoring in the opening match against Poland.
“We won, we performed better than in the game against Korea. We scored good goals, conceded a few.
“In terms of hockey, we managed to create a lot of chances. I am happy with their performance,” said coach, Roelant Oltmans during the post-match interview.
Meanwhile, India warmed up for its meeting with Korea in the final tomorrow, thumping Poland 10-0 to complete their round robin matches undefeated, sitting pretty in first spot.
The world no 5 biggest win left 21 ranked, Poland the only team winless thus far. They still one opportunity to make amends in the 5th/6th place playoff against Japan tomorrow.
Korea also kept their unbeaten run in the tournament with two late goals by Jang Jonghyun (m-57) and Cho Sukhoon (m-58) edging them 4-2 against Japan, putting them in second place.
Korea will be gunning for their third title while India, their sixth championship win. Ironically these two teams who drew 1-1 in the group stage, were declared joint winners in 2010 after bad weather forced the abandonment of their game after six minutes with the score tied at 0-0.
India 10 Poland 0
Korea 4 Japan 2
Malaysia 3 Canada 2
30th March (Saturday)
5th/6th placing – Japan vs Poland, 3.40 pm
3rd/4th placing – Malaysia vs Canada, 6.05 pm
Final – India vs Korea, 8.35 pm