Great day for Britain


  • Hockey
  • Sunday, 07 May 2017

Worthy winners: Britain players celebrate with the gold medals and trophy after beating Australia in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday. Britain won 4-3. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

IPOH: Britain won the Sultan Azlan Cup hockey title for just the second time when they defeated defending champions Australia 4-3 in an exciting final.

It was world No. 7 Britain, who were the winners in 1994 when they played as England, who started strongly with Alan Forsyth scoring from close range in the eighth minute.

And three minutes later the Britons shocked nine-time champions Australia again with David Goodfield slotting home a rebound after the initial penalty corner shot was saved by goalkeeper Andrew Charter.

The second half saw both sides involved in some brilliant attacking moves.

Eddie Ockenden then pulled a goal back for world No. 2 Australia in the 28th minute.

But in a 10-minute spell, Britain, who lost 2-1 to Australia in the group match, increased their lead to 4-1. Ollie Willards was on target in the 33rd minute and Goodfield scored his second goal of the match in the 43rd minute.

Still, Australia refused to give up with Joshua Pollard on target followed by Dylan Woo­therspoon.

Despite pressure from Australia, Britain managed to hold on for victory.

India claimed the bronze when they whipped New Zealand 4-0. Defender Rupinder Pal Singh (17th and 27th minutes), Sunil Somwarpet (48th) and Telvinder Singh (60th) were the scorers.

Malaysia ended up fifth after a 3-1 win over Japan in the six-team tournament. It was the hosts’ second win in the tournament, having beaten India 1-0 in their final group match on Friday.

National coach Stephen van Huizen was happy with the fifth-place finish although they were fourth in last year’s seven-nation affair.

 

“Overall we had some very good matches despite the results not going our way in the earlier match. There is a lot to take away from this tournament and we’re happy with the quality of the matches.

“Today we took our chances well. Even against teams like Australia, Britain and New Zealand we had some very good chances,” said Stephen.

It was refreshing to see the Malaysians starting off earnestly and taking the fight to the Japanese.

They earned their first penalty corner in the eighth minute and it resulted in a goal. Mohamed Razie Rahim almost blew the execution but Mohamed Haziq Shamsul was quick to react. He collected the ball and let fly a reverse hit to beat the Japanese defence.

Three minutes later, Malaysia were two-up with Mohamed Firhan Azhaari scoring a field goal. The Malaysians, however, let their guard down and the Japanese took advantage to reduce the deficit through Kaito Tanaka’s field goal in the 28th minute.

After the first-half break, Malaysia continued to attack. And from their fourth penalty corner in the 34th minute, Malaysia increased the lead to 3-1 through Faizal Saari’s strike.

A heavy downpour in the 44th minute saw the match being stopped for an hour. On resumption, the Japanese were in attack mode but Malaysia held on to secure the win.

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