Ipoh, Malaysia (15 April, 2016): Reigning World champions Australia and five-time champions India will face off in the final of the 25th Silver Jubilee Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on Saturday.
The Australians humbled Canada 3-0 to remain unbeaten after completion of the preliminary round while the Indians stomped Malaysia 6-1 in an inspiring performance which had the host’s back paddling in the first quarter itself.
It was the biggest defeat suffered by any team in this edition of the tournament and the Malaysians took the honour of facing this wrath. It is also India’s seventh Cup final as their last appearance was way back in 2010 when they had to share the title with South Korea after torrential showers flooded the ground.
Watching the India-Malaysia contest from the sidelines was New Zealand, who will now face hosts Malaysia for the bronze medal on Saturday. Malaysia finished fourth after failing to add to their eight points on Friday.
Malaysia needed a seven-goal victory to edge ahead of New Zealand in the standings, but they went out seeking to avenge their loss to India in the Hockey World League Semi-finals that cost them qualifications for the Olympic Games.
Forward S. V. Sunil (2nd minute), Harjeet Singh (7th), Ramandeep Singh (25th and 39th), Danish Mujtaba (27th) and Talwinder Singh (50th) scored for India, while Shahril Saabah (46th) scored a consolation goal for Malaysia.
India’s captain Sardar Singh in action against Malaysia in the 25th Silver Jubilee Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh today. India humbled Malaysia 6-1.
The Kookaburras maintained a perfect record of six wins to take top spot in the table standings on 18 points while India moved up to second on 12 points, pushing defending champions New Zealand to third.
Mark Knowles scored from a penalty corner rebound in the 16th minute to give Australia the lead and Blake Govers made it 2-0 via a 33rd minute penalty corner while Flynn Ogilvie added the third after picking a perfect pass from Mathew Swann. The Canadians were awarded a penalty stroke in the dying seconds but team captain Scott Tupper squandered the move.
India’s Dutch coach, Roelant Oltmans, said he is hopeful of his players giving the World Champions a strong challenge in the final.
“I’m pleased to see the energy of the boys. That’s what you want to see as a coach. The finals are always special. I want to test and see what our boys will do tomorrow. I’m happy that the team played strongly and applied pressure. That is why we were on top of it throughout. Now we need to focus on the final,” he said.
“Playing against Australia in the final is a great opportunity for us,” added Oltmans, perfectly aware of the 5-1 defeat Australia inflicted on India in the league earlier.
Canadian Benjamin Martin (No 2) attempts to get past Australian Eddie Ockenden (No 11) in the 25th Silver Jubilee Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh today. Australian win 3-0.
“Yes we did lose by a big margin, but the score line is a bit harsh. We played a good game, but the outcome was terrible. Tomorrow we ought to try to combine a good game with a good outcome,” the coach said. “Australia are the best, there’s no doubt about that. We hope to give them a good contest.”
Malaysian head coach Stephen van Huizen said India’s early heavy pressure on his boys had put the game beyond his team’s reach. It was a heavy load to wash away.
“I’m disappointed with the early goals, but the boys fought hard,” said Van Huizen. “The game was over when we conceded four goals in the first half.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan defeated Japan 4-1 and will now play for the 5/6th placing in the classification matches against Canada. The Pakistanis defeated Canada 3-1 in their round-robin league match.
Japanese goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa stretches to clear the ball away against Pakistan in the 25th Silver Jubilee Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match in Ipoh, Malaysia today. Pakistan won 4-1.
After a lacklustre opening quarter, Pakistan took a 2-0 lead with goals from Ali Shan (29th) and Rizwan Ali (24th). The Japanese replied through Shota Yanada three minutes into the fourth quarter before Muhammad Arslan Qadir scored a brace in the 48th and 57th minutes from field goals.
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