Monday, 17 March 2014 | MYT 10:05 PM
Dwyer's brace hand Aussies third straight win
China’s Wang Zipeng (left) tries to stop South Korea’s Moon Kweon-kang during their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match in Ipoh. The Koreans won 3-2. - SAIFUL BAHRI / The Star
IPOH: Striker Jamie Dwyer scored a brace to steer defending champions Australia to a 7-0 win over South Africa in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Monday.
It was the Australians’ third straight win following their triumphs over China (7-0) and Canada (6-0). And they have scored a whopping 20 goals and letting in none.
World champions Australia, who are gunning for their eight title in the tournament, need just a draw against South Korea tomorrow to seal a place in Sunday’s final.
For South Africa, who will feature in the World Cup Finals in The Hague in May, it was their third consecutive defeat.
Australia went on the offensive from the start, but they had to wait until the 30th minute to take the lead through Trent Mitton.
Dwyer, the five-time World Player of the Year, netted in the 34th and 46th minutes. Nicholas Budgeon (35th), Chris Ciriello (52nd), Daniel Beale (55nd) and Mark Knowles (62nd) were the other scorers.
Skipper Knowles, however, preached caution. He refused to say Australia are a sure-bet for a spot in the final.
“We still need to improve our performance. It is going to get tougher as our next two matches are against South Korea (Wednesday) and Malaysia (Saturday),” said Knowles.
In the second match of the day, two-time champions South Korea registered a hard-fought 3-2 win over China.
The Koreans grabbed the lead through Kim Seong-kyu in the 22nd minute. But China, ranked 25th in the world, shocked the Asian Cup champions by scoring two quick goals.
Zhang Zhixuan restored parity in the 32nd minute and Du Talake made it 2-1 in the 37th minute for a 2-1 lead.
The Koreans, the world No. 7, stormed back with Jang Jung-hyun converting two penalty corners in the 50th and 66th minutes to secure the Koreans’ second win.