Razie wins for Malaysia with a brace over Japan

inspiring performance of hosts Malaysia

7 April 2016
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Ipoh, Malaysia (7 April, 2016): Eight-time champions Australia pulverised India 5-1 and Canada held on to a 1-1 draw against defending champions New Zealand in the 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh today.

But it was the inspiring performance of hosts Malaysia for the second consecutive day that got the 8,000 fans here all excited following a 4-3 victory over Japan. The Malaysians had on Wednesday played New Zealand to a 3-3 draw.

Malaysia’s Firhan Ashari (centre) is challenged by two Japanese players in the 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Perak today. Malaysia won 4-3.

Malaysia’s Firhan Ashari (centre) is challenged by two Japanese players in the 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Perak today. Malaysia won 4-3.

Drag-flick specialist Razie Rahim knocked two penalty corner goals (2nd and 11th minutes) and Haziq Samsul (14th) added the third (14th) to give the hosts a commanding 3-1 lead in the first quarter after Hiroki Sakamoto  equalised for Japan in the third minute.

The Malaysians upped the ante in the second quarter and could only pick one penalty corner but unfortunately Razie pushed the ball wide past goalkeeper Hiroki Yoshikawa as Japan closed the gaps with defensive play.

However, the Malaysias went 4-1 up via a penalty stroke after Razie’s direct push from a penalty corner in the 32nd minute was deliberately stopped by a defender. The Japanese came back strongly in the last five minutes to score two goals through Shota Yamada to close the gap at 4-3.

“I am really happy to have picked three points from this match. We played extremely well in the first three quarters only to give away two goals in the last five minutes,” said Malaysian head coach, Stephen van Huizen.

“The Japanese are very fast on the turn and they had some fair share of their moments. But overall, we need to improve from game to game and I see that happening,” he added.

In an earlier match, Blake Govers gave World No 1 Australia a fifth minute goal from a powerful penalty corner leaving goalkeeper Harjot Singh hapless before India equalised three minutes later through Rupinder Pal Singh in similar fashion but was soon replaced due to injury.

Jamie Dwyer, however, paved the way for Jake Whetton to sneak home the second goal in the 13th minute, Eddie Ockeden extended Australia’s lead with a 20th minute field goal and Simon Orchard continued Australia’s domination and India’s misery with a 27th minute field goal.

The third quarter was low-keyed as both teams were embroiled in attacking game for the goals which did not come. Matt Gohdes, however, put the result beyond doubt when he deflected an Orchard pass to win 5-1.

It was India’s first defeat in two days after a lacklustre 2-1 win over Japan on Wednesday. The five-time champions take on Canada on Sunday.

India’s Sunil Sowmarpet runs away with the ball against Australia in the 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh today. Australia won 5-1.

Australian coach, Graham Reid is looking towards playing Malaysia at the 10,000 capacity stadium which has been a good hunting ground for the Aussies since winning the inaugural tournament in 1983.

“It is good to know that we made use of several few chances we created. We are trying some different things before the Olympics,” said Reid. “We are now looking forward to play in front of the big crowd.

“Malaysia is a completely different team when they play at home. They are a young team and we will be playing against players that we have never faced before,’’ he added.

India’s head coach, Roelant Oltmans, said: “There was not much difference when it comes to creating goal scoring opportunities but the score line showed that Australia took their chances well. This game gives us lots of information and we will now work on our recovery.”

In a match between two Rio de Janeriro-bound Olympic teams, Canada and New Zealand went out in full force following uninspiring starts to the tournament. The Canadians lost 1-3 against Pakistan and the Black Sticks were held to a 3-3 draw by Malaysia in Wednesday’s opening matches.

Canada earned two penalty corners in the first quarter but goalkeeper Devon Manchester proved to be a stumbling block and it was only in the 25th minute that Gordon Johnson gave his side the lead before New Zealand replied through Nick Woods for their second drawn game.

Canada and New Zealand in action in the 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh today. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

New Zealand coach, Colin Batch, said: “A draw is certainly not good. We need to look into an area to improve on our penalty corners executions. At the moment it is not going as we like.”

Simon Child, the Black Sticks captain, echoed: “Our performance was poor today. We had more opportunities in the second half but could not convert them into goals. The Canadians played a good game and deserve credit.”

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