HONG KONG (27 Nov, 2016): Bangladesh scored a hat-trick by winning the Men’s AHF Cup for a third consecutive time following a 3-0 victory over Sri Lanka in the final at the King’s Park Hockey Centre here on Sunday.
The triumph by the red and green shirted Bangladesh team will allow them direct entry into next year’s Men’s Asia Cup scheduled to be held from late September to early October. The venue has yet to be decided by the Asian Hockey Federation.
German coach Oliver Kurtz had also earlier in the tournament predicted Bangladesh would win the title hand down. “If we don’t win than I am not a good coach,” he was quoted as saying.
Hasan Jubair Niloy gave Bangladesh the early breakthrough with a 22nd minute field goal and drag-flick specialist Ashraful Islam doubled the lead in the 61st minute from a penalty corner. AHM Kamruzzaman than fired them past Sri Lanka with a minute before stoppage time.
It was the 18-year-old Ashraful’s ninth goal in the tournament – eight of which came from penalty corners and the other from a penalty stroke.
Bangladesh is the only country in the history of the AHF Cup who won the title three times in a row. They emerged champions in the last two editions in 2012 and 2008 in Thailand and Singapore respectively.
Bangladesh also maintained winning records in the tournament by defeating hosts Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei by 4-2 margins and sent Macau reeling to a 13-0 defeat in their Pool A preliminary round matches.
Hong Kong grabbed the bronze medal after securing a 2-1 win over Singapore in the playoff for third-fourth placing while Uzbekistan overcame a resilient Thailand 5-4 in penalty shootout to claim fifth spot following a 4-4 draw in regulation time and Chinese Taipei downed Macau 15-1 in the playoff for seventh-eighth position.
Forward Iu Felix took just two minutes to crack open Singapore’s defence with a field goal but the Singaporeans rolled back into the game with a Ishwarpal Grewal Singh’s penalty corner seconds before the interval hooter.
Felix, however, returned in the 53rd minute to score his second goal in the match and fourth in the tournament for Hong Kong who trooped off the field with the bronze medal.