Monday, December 7, 2009

MHL :: Seasoned Tiger Chairil still roaring

Former international Chairil Anwar is into his 20th season in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) and he still has a big part to play for Maybank in the Premier Division.

Chairil made his MHL debut for Kuala Terengganu Municipal Council in 1990. The following season, he was offered a job with Maybank and has since then featured for the Tigers in the MHL.

“It’s a record to have played in the MHL for the 19 years as most players would have retired by age of 35,” said the 37-year-old Terengganu-born forward.

“But I am still fit and can play as well as the good young players. I keep myself fit and will continue to play in the MHL as long as my services are needed.”

Chairil, who scored seven goals for the Tigers last year, added he would go all out to lead the forward-line and score goals from deflections.

“I am good with my deflections and definitely want to be on the score sheet in every match,” said the father of three children, who quit international hockey after the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

Besides Chairil, the other forwards in the team are Hafifihafiz Hanafi, Suhaimi Ibrahim, Hang Edzharsyay Hang Tuah, Mohd Azammi Adabi and Nor Khairul Azrain.

Coach S. Velappan said that Chairil’s services were valuable because of his ability to still play competitive hockey and to guide the younger players in the team.

“He also has good scoring ability from deflections and this will be the plus point for us,” he said.

Maybank finished fourth in a six-team league last year and were third in the overall championship.

The Tigers last won the league title in 1995 and were double champions the previous year. They also won the overall title in 1988 and 1990.

Maybank will open their campaign against Nur Insafi on Saturday at the Tun Razak Stadium.

The other teams in the Premier Division are Sapura, Tenaga Nasional, Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and University Kuala Lumpur.

the competition takes a carnival atmosphere and besides the Tun Razak Stadium, matches will also be played in Penang, Malacca and Johor Baru.

The league will be played over two rounds with all six teams featuring in the knockout stage, which will also have the top two teams from Division One. The final is scheduled for Feb 12.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

U-14 :: KL stun champs Perak to lift U-14 crown

Kuala Lumpur finally bagged their first title in the national Under-14 hockey tournament when they scored a 3-2 golden goal win over defending champions Perak 3-2 in the final at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium yesterday.

It was a repeat of last year’s final but this time the city side prevailed. The match ended 2-2 at regulation time but three minutes into extra time KL popped in the winner to claim their first title in the series.

The hero for the KL side was their penalty corner taker T. Athitsha who scored all three goals. He deservingly was voted the Man-of-the-Match.

KL coach K. Rajan was happy with his players’ commitment as they did not lose their cool despite falling behind at one stage.

“This is the title we have not won and we are glad to have pulled it off. The players did well and they have been improving with each game. Perak made a fight of it but our penalty corners made a difference in the final,” said Rajan.

In fact Perak too relied on the penalty corners for their goal as well.

Athitsha put KL in the lead after just four minutes into the game. Azril Misron put Perak back on level terms in the 23rd minute.

And Mohamed Amar gave the silver state the lead in the 46th minute to put pressure on the KL team.

In the 53rd minute Athitsha turned the match around to score his second goal to make it 2-2 and send the final into extra-time.

Three minutes into extra time saw KL gaining a penalty corner and Athitsha sounded the board to give his team the title.

Negri Sembilan took third place after a 1-0 win over Penang. The solitary goal was scored by Mohamed Ikhwan in the 24th minute.

MHL :: Tigers easily sweep aside foreign-powered Nur Insafi

Maybank swept aside Nur Insafi 5-2 in their opening match in the new Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.

The Nur Insafi team had registered 16 foreign players but only nine arrived for yesterday’s match. The presence of the foreign players did not affect the Tigers as they carved out an easy win.

The Tigers took a three-goal in the first half with three field attempts. Former international Suhaimi Ibrahim started the ball rolling with his attempt in the 22nd minute. This was followed by Mohamed Azammi Adabi and Hafifihafiz Hanafi in the 29th and 33rd minutes respectively

Sundeep Michael pulled a goal for Nur Insafi in the 36th minute but Azammi was on target for the Tiger two minutes later to keep them ahead.

Hairul Niizam made it 5-1 in the 50th minute with a penalty corner goal while Nur Hrisikesa added the second goal for Nur Insafi in the 70th minute.

Seven of Nur Insafi’s foreign players will only come next week. Their foreign players in action yesterday were Bharat Chetri, Kul Bhusant Ramesh Kumar, Sarvan Kumar, Lloyd Ronald Kiran, Sundeep Michael, Vinod Kumar, Mubeen Ur Rahman and Yasir Islam.

Another player Pakistani penalty corner specialist Syed Imran Al Warsi was with the team yesterday but will not be able to play until Dec 15. He is still under contract with a European club and cannot play until then.

Earlier, KL Hockey Club started off their debut season in the MHL with a 3-0 win over another newcomer University Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in an earlier match.

The first half ended scoreless as both teams failed to create any good goal scoring chances. The match only came alive in the second half as KLHC, parading players from last year’s double winners Ernst and Young, scored thrice to collect full points.

KLHC skipper Azlan Misron started the scoring in the 36th minute from a penalty corner set-piece. This was followed by a field goal from Ismail Abu a minute later.

KLHC then began to dominate the proceedings and increased their lead in the 56th minute when Baljit Singh fired home a penalty corner.

KLHC coach R. Vivekanandan said that the important thing was to secure the three points.

UniKL paraded a lot of young players and they too were happy to have matched their more experienced opponents and not get a hammering.

Their coach I. Vicknesweran said it was an important match for them as they could gauge their strength.

“I am happy that my players showed they can The Premier Division league will resume on Dec 18.”

U-14 :: KL and Perak to meet in repeat U-14 final

Defending champions Perak and Kuala Lumpur set up a repeat final in the national Under-14 hockey tournament after scoring similar 2-1 victories in the semi-finals at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Kuala Lumpur came from a goal down to edge Penang 2-1 while Perak downed Negri Sembilan 2-1 to set up a repeat of last year’s final.

And this time around, KL look good enough to win their first ever Under-14 title.

KL coach K. Rajan said his players have been showing improvement in each match and in fact could have won by a bigger margin against Penang in the semi-final.

“I am confident that we will do well in the final. We want to win the title and playing Perak will give us a chance to exact revenge for last year’s defeat,” said Rajan.

In yesterday’s semi-final, Penang took the lead in the 14th minute through a field goal by Mohamed Rahimi.

Mohamed Zulhafiq equalised for KL with a field goal two minutes before the end of the first half.

KL continued their aggressive play in the second half and was rewarded with the winner in the 52nd minute Nor Shafiq slotted home a penalty corner goal to put his team in the final.

Penang had gone into the match as the only unbeaten team after the preliminary round.

In the second match Negri were the favourites after their good showing in the preliminary round. And as expected they took the lead in the ninth minute through Badrul Hisham off a field attempt.

But Perak were back on level terms just two minutes later with a penalty corner strike from Mohamed Akhran.

The winner came in the 53rd minute when Mohamed Najib scored a field goal. And after that Perak held sway for the last 15 minutes to qualify for their second consecutive final.

MHL :: MHF bank on six-team league to re-ignite waning interest

Tenaga National and Sapura will provide the opening fireworks for the Premier Division of the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) at the Tun Razak Stadium here today.

The six-team league offers new ingredients that may well re-ignite interest in an ailing competition.

Besides the two former champions, the other teams in the fray are Maybank, Nur Insafi and two newcomers Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and University Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).

And for the first time, matches will be played on a carnival basis and the other venues of competition are in Johor, Penang and Malacca.

The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will bear the transportation cost and provide lodgings for travelling sides.

For the first time too, there will be live television coverage of preliminary round matches with the clash between Tenaga and Sapura coming on at 8.30pm on Astro Channel 816.

The MHF secretary, Hashim Mohamed Yusof, said that they hope the new features would lead to bigger things for the MHL.

“We want to generate greater interest in the MHL in other states. We hope that it will lead more teams to compete in the Premier Division,” he said.

“For now, we have six teams to keep the quality high. But if more teams can find the money to get good players, we will increase the numbers in the top flight. We are experimenting and hopefully we will see a keener competition this year.”

Although KLHC are the new kids on the block, they can be counted as one of the favourites to win the title. The club have all the players from the double-winning Ernst and Young side last year. Ernst and Young have decided to stop taking part in the MHL.

Penang outfit Nur Insafai are the other team coming in for attention. They have hired 16 foreign players in their rank, including star players in Pakistan’s Mohamed Nadeem and India’s V. S. Vinaya.

And whether they are really the team to beat this season will be indicated in their opening match against Maybank tomorrow.

Tenaga coach Nor Saiful Zaini said yesterday that the MHL was heading in the right direction with the changes but more must be done to ensure it remained competitive.

“I think it is a more open affair in the race for the title. This will allow for some good matches and create greater interest among the fans,” he said.

“The MHL had been dominated by a few teams for a long time. Let us hope that it will a change this year.”

The main reason for a few teams hogging the limelight previous was their financial resources to buy the best players.

But this year’s league will see the inclusion of more juniors in teams to even out the field. And with Nur Insafi adding the foreign glamour, this season’s MHL may well turn out to be the best in the series.

U-14 :: Champions Perak edge Kelantan to move into semis

Defending champions Perak booked a semi-final berth from Group A of the national Under-14 hockey tournament with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Kelantan at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Penang have already booked their berth with a match in hand after having won all three previous matches and they are joined in the semi-finals by Group B qualifiers Negri Sembilan and Kuala Lumpur.

Perak had Mohamed Sahfiqzul to thank for scoring the winning goal in the 65th minute. The other scorers for Perak were Mohamed Najib (5th) and Mohamed Ashran (15th). Kelantan got their goals through Faiz Mohamed Zain (6th) and Mohamed Aminuddin (38th).

Perak will play against Negri tomorrow for a place in the final.

Negri kept up their fine run with a 3-1 win over Terengganu. Mohamed Ikhwan opened the scoring in the eighth minute and Mohamed Fakhrul Radzi chalked up a brace in the 29th and 63rd minutes. Terengganu’s consolation goal was scored by Mohamed Firas in the 65th minute.

KL had to endure a long wait to book their place in the semi-finals. Their match against Malacca scheduled for 7.30am was abandoned because of rain.

It was played in the evening and rain again caused the match to be abandoned in the second half with KL leading 2-0. The result stands and it took KL into the semi-finals.

Group A: Pahang 0 Perlis 1; Kelantan 2 Perak 3.

Group B: Malacca 0 K. Lumpur 2; N. Sembilan 3 Terengganu 1.

Group A: Penang vs Perlis (7.30am); Kelantan vs Pahang (3pm).

Group B: Selangor vs Terengganu (9.30am), Malacca vs N. Sembilan (5pm).

Friday, December 4, 2009

MHL :: It’s old hands against young guns when Sapura take on Tenaga

It will be an experience versus youth match-up when former champions Tenaga Nasional play against Sapura in the opening Premier Division match of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) here today.

Sapura have retained almost their entire team from last year with three new players while Tenaga have six youngsters to combine with six national stars.

Sapura coach S. Prakash said yesterday that although Tenaga have a relatively young side, they could still be counted as favourites.

“For us, the experience of our seasoned players will be the key. I expect a close match,” said Prakash.

“I do not think we can make a prediction on the winners because opening matches can be full of surprises,” he said.

The newcomers in the Sapura team are Azreen Rizal, Mohamed Marhan Mohamed Jalil and Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin. Their seasoned campaigners are S. Kuhan, Nishel Kumar, Mohamed Rodhanizam Radzi, S. Shanker, Jivan Mohan, Reduan Ponirin and Mohamed Redza Maadun.

National defender Jiwa Mohan is listed in the team and it will only be known this morning whether he arrives in time from Perth.

Tenaga coach Nor Saiful Zaini said that with many young players in the team, the task was to stay focused on winning the match and not playing to the gallery.

“Sapura know how to deal with situations and they will punish you for any mistake,” he said.

The national stars in the Tenaga side are goalkeeper S. Kumar, Mohamed Amin Rahim, Mohamed Madzli Ikmar, S. Selvaraju, Baljit Singh and newcomer Faizal Saari.

And providing the youth element are Shahril Irwan Nazli, Mohamed Nor Hafiq Abdul Ghaffar, Mohamed Anwar Ali, Mohamed Jamil Saidin, Izwan Firdaus.

“I think what is important for us is to click as a team. I have not set any big target for the team and there will be no real pressure on them. We will take one match at a time,” said Saiful.

U-14 :: Unbeaten Penang on course for a place in the semis

Mohamed Rahimi Iskandar scored a hat-trick in Penang’s 6-1 win over Pahang in a Group A match of the national Under-14 hockey tournament at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Penang now have maximum points from three matches after having defeated Kelantan (4-1) and defending champions Perak (2-1) earlier and they need a draw against winless Perlis in their final group fixture tomorrow to seal a place in the semi-finals.

Rahimi was on target in the 13th, 44th and 55th minutes and the other scorers for Penang were Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman (16th, 26th) and Aidil Zasri (67th). Pahang got their goal through Mohd Shazrun in the 31st minute.

Perak beat Perlis 2-0 with goals by Mohd Zulhamizan (15th) and Mohd Najib Abu Hassan (40th) to keep their hopes alive to reach the semi-finals. They need to beat Kelantan today to advance.

In a Group B, Negri Sembilan chalked up their second straight win — beating Selangor 4-3.

Mohd Ikhwan Ishak scored a hat-trick (29th, 40th, 49th) for Negri and Aireq Azrul got the other goal (60th). The scorers for Selangor were Mohd Izzat Ikmal (20th), Mohd Shamy Abdul Fouzi (57th) and Nazrul Mubin (67th).

Negri, who beat Kuala Lumpur 2-0 in the first match, have two matches to play against Terengganu today and Malacca tomorrow.


Group A: Pahang 1 Penang 6; Perlis 0 Perak 2.

Group B: N. Sembilan 4 Selangor 3; Terengganu 1 K. Lumpur 7.

Today's fixtures

Group A: Pahang vs Perlis (9am); Kelantan vs Perak (5pm).

Group B: Malacca vs K. Lumpur (7.30am); N. Sembilan vs Terengganu (3pm).

* All matches at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

U-14 :: Penang upset defending champs Perak

Penang chalked up their second consecutive win in the national Under-14 hockey tournament when they edged defending champions Perak 2-1 in a Group A match at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Penang, who defeated Kelantan 4-1 on Sunday, went on the offensive and were 2-0 up after 14 minutes of the play with goals by Mohd Izzudan Halim (fourth) and Mohd Rahimi Iskandar. Perak pulled a goal back with a 23rd-minute penalty corner goal by Mohd Najib Abu Hassan.

Perak, who outplayed Pahang 5-1 in their opening match, need to beat Perlis today to stay in hunt for a place in the semi-finals.

Kelantan bounced back from their opening match defeat by Penang with a 7-0 rout of Perlis. Faiz Mohd Zain was score a hat-trick (32nd, 34th, 38th) and the other goals came from Mohd Sofieyudin (20th), Mohd Zafwan (52nd), Mohd Safami (54th) and Mohd Fitri Zaidi (62nd).

In Group B, Terengganu came back from a goal down to edge Malacca 3-2.

Malacca led with a seventh-minute goal by Lee Eu Jin but Terengganu stormed back to score three goals in the second half through Mohamed Firan Termizi (36th), Nik Mohamed Aiman (44th) and Mohamed Sufi Ismat (60th). Mohamed Zul Hilmi narrowed the deficit for Malacca in the 62nd minute.

Selangor Hockey League 2009 Fixtures

1st December 2009 (Tuesday)
8.00pm IIUM Mustang vs SMKDJ
6.00pm SMKPP vs RAMD Juniors

2nd December 2009 (Wednesday)
7.30pm SMKDJ vs Selangor Polis Veteran
9.00pm Selangor Polis vs MBPJ

3rd December 2009 (Thursday)
26 3-Dec 8.00pm SHP 1 OLAK vs RAMD

4th December 2009 (Friday)
24 4-Dec 8.00pm SHP 1 Selangor Sikh vs UiTM

5th December 2009 (Saturday)
4.00pm IIUM Staff vs Synergy HC
5.30pm Polyteknik S.Alam vs SMKDJ
7.00pm Selangor Sikh vs Selangor Polis
8.30pm Selangor Polis Veteran vs SMKPP

6th December 2009 (Sunday)
8.00am SMKDJ vs IIUM Staff
4.00pm RAMD Juniors vs Selangor Polis Veteran
5.30pm UiTM vs Selangor Polis
7.00pm JUPEM vs PSKPP
(All matches at Pandamaran Stadium, Klang)

8th December 2009 (Tuesday)


9th December 2009 (Wednesday)


15th December 2009 (Tuesday)


16th December 2009 (Wednesday)


U-14 :: Champs Perak start off with a resounding win

Perak began their defence of the national Under-14 hockey title with a 5-1 rout of Pahang in a Group A match at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Mohamed Najib opened accounts for Perak in the third minute and goals by Mohamed Zulhamizan (8th) and Nor Ikhwan (14th) gave their team a 3-0 first-half lead. Perak scored second-half goals through Mohamed Khairul Adha (34th) and Mohamed Ikhwan Rashid (40th) before Mohamed Adil Syaffiq pulled a goal back for Pahang in the 64th minute.

In Group B, last year’s runners-up Kuala Lumpur slumped to an opening match defeat (0-2) by Negri Sembilan.

Field goals from Mohamed Fakhrul Radzi and Mohamed Ikhwan Ishak in the 23rd and 42nd minutes respectively gave Negri full points.

However, KL coach K. Rajan took the defeat in his stride and said that his team would bounce back in their remaining group matches.

“The top two teams make the semi-finals and we are not out of it yet. The defeat by Negri has made our task a little harder but we will be back on track, starting with the match against Selangor tomorrow,” he said.

In another Group A match, Penang also flexed their muscles with a 4-1 win over Kelantan while Malacca and Selangor played to a 1-1 draw in Group B.

Mohamed Rahimi and Mohamed Azuah Abdul Rahman scored a brace each for Penang while Mohamed Sazuan was on target for Kelantan.


Group A: Perak 5 Pahang 1; Penang 4 Kelantan 1.

Group B: K. Lumpur 0 N. Sembilan 2; Malacca 1 Selangor 1.

Today's fixtures

Group A: Perlis vs Kelantan (9am), Perak vs Penang (5pm).

Group B: Terengganu vs Malacca (7.30am); K. Lumpur vs Selangor (3pm),

* All matches at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium

Sunday, November 29, 2009

U-14 :: Perak, KL the teams to beat in U-14 tourney

Last year’s finalists Perak and Kuala Lumpur will start as favourites in the national Under-14 hockey championship, which begins today at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium.

But both teams are wary of the threat from the east coast sides, who usually challenge strongly in age-group level competitions.

KL coach K. Rajan said that no team could be taken lightly in an age-group meet.

“Therefore, it means nothing when Perak and KL are installed as the top seeds. Teams with good development programmes will be strong challengers and the east coast sides will be the main threat,” he said.

KL have former champions Terengganu in Group B along with Malacca, Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

Defending champions Perak will be up against Pahang and Kelantan in Group A, which also has Penang and Perlis.

Matches in the championships will be held at two venues – the Kuantan Hockey Stadium and the Sukpa Hockey Stadium.

KL have yet to win the Under-14 national tournament and Rajan is hoping that they will go one step further this time.


Today: Perak vs Pahang (3pm), Penang vs Kelantan (5pm) K. Lumpur vs N. Sembilan (7.30pm), Selangor vs Malacca (9.30pm). – Kuantan Hockey Stadium.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Top Session :: Improve Basic Skills

This week we look at how with the right preparation you can design a session, which can be challenging for players of all standards, and be managable even when faced with large groups. Take at look at this session, if you are just starting the season in the southern hemisphere, this session can be used as part of a Try-outs or trials day.

In planning or delivering any session, it is best to start with a learning objective, for example; this session all players will come away of having improved their basic skills.

Agility: Whether your teams use static or dynamic stretches in the warm up, include some agility work without stick and ball at the start of each session, try to vary these exercises each week.

Stick and Ball: After the agility, which is often done in teams and relays - eg ladder exercises, you can progress quickly to some basic relays with stick and ball, this helps get players focussed ready to train hard, add competitive races to get players to concentrate.

Small Groups: When faced with coaching a large group with a range of abilites, using small group drills, eg 4's, means players can work with other players of similar abilites so, therefore weak players don't stop stronger players from training hard. As a coach you can direct this and therefore keep training challenging for all levels.

This session uses these principles and some top small group drills to improve and test players basics.

Pass and move into square


Set out grids 5 by 5 m. For the practice 1 player on each corner with 1 ball between 4. Player passes ball clock wise and after pass moves to touch the cone in the middle of the square and back out again.


Change direction of pass to anti clock wise

Click here to see interactive video!

Next on hockey~ Chasing the Game

Friday, June 12, 2009

Junior World Cup :: Malaysia must beat Spain to enter second round

Winner takes all! That’s the scenario for today’s last Group C match between Malaysia and Spain.

With Spain’s 0-1 loss to South Korea yesterday, Malaysia have only one option left in their pursuit for a place in the second round of the Junior World Cup Finals – beat Spain.

But then, given their inconsistent form and indifferent performances, it is hard to see National Juniors coach K. Rajan’s boys beating the European champions.

But the defeat of the Spaniards by the South Koreans, who have qualified for the second round, has given Rajan hopes of an upset today.

“It is not impossible to beat them (Spain) and qualify (for the second round),” he said yesterday.

“We have played them before and they are very good.”

Rajan, however, has reminded his boys not to repeat the mistakes they made in the 5-2 win over the United States on Wednesday.

The coach chided his players for resorting to individual play after taking a comfortable lead.

“This attitude of going for self-glory must stop. We are at a crucial stage and the players must not let their minds wander. How can we win matches this way?

“I have had a talk with the players and they know what is at stake. The message to them is simple: go out there tomorrow (today) and win at all cost.”

The Malaysians owe it to the fans to give their everything against the Spaniards today.

The National Juniors are, in fact, the envy of every team in Johor Baru. The home crowd support has been tremendous, with almost 5,000 vociferous fans cheering them on in every match.

“Yes, the fans have rallied behind us and have given the players a tremendous boost. We want to repay them by making the second round. I can assure you that we will do our best in the last match,” vowed Rajan.

To achieve that, the players – especially forwards Faizal Saari, Mohd Izzat Rahim, Mohd Sahfiq and Mohd Marhan – will have to work as a unit, and not as individuals.

The defenders have done well, although there is still room for improvement in terms of keeping their focus right up to the final whistle.

“If we can do that and stay in the fight for the whole 70 minutes then I am convinced that we can beat Spain,” said Rajan.

Junior World Cup :: S. Korea and Pakistan in second round

South Korea and Pakistan have qualified for the second round of the Junior World Cup Finals from here yesterday.

South Korea became the first team to qualify after a pulsating 1-0 win over Spain in a Group C match at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium.

Former world champions Pakistan then made the cut from Group A when they scored two late goals to beat defending champions Argentina 3-2 at the same venue.

The Koreans snatched their third win of the tournament and have a maximum of nine points. Their last match against England will only serve to decide whether they top the group.

The Spaniards now have the beat Malaysia in order to make it. It will be straight-forward match with the winner making the cut.

Yesterday’s match was a fast-paced affair with both teams going at each other at full throttle.

After a goalless first-half, the Koreans finally made the breakthrough in the 49th minute when Seo Jin-su scored a field goal.

The Spanish side pressed hard in the last 10 minutes and had four penalty corners but they all came to nought.

South Korean coach Shin Seok-kyu described the match as a tough battle and that the pressure at the end was tremendous.

“I do not know why the umpires gave the penalty corners. Thankfully, my players kept their cool. We will think about the second round after the match against England,” he said.

The Group A match between Pakistan and Argentina was full of excitement, with the South Americans enjoying the advantage early on.

The Pakistanis persevered and it paid off with two field goals late in the match. But their win was marred by a red card to Abbas Haider in the 68th minute for an infringement.

Argentina took the lead in the seventh minute off a penalty corner goal by Leandro Tolini before Abbas Haider equalised in the 35th minute.

The Argentines struck on resumption when Santiago Monteli scored in the 55th minute.

Four minutes later Pakistan were back on level terms, thanks to Mohamed Irfan’s goal.

Mohamed Zubair then struck in the 66th minute to allow Pakistan to snatch a win over the defending champions.

Argentina will now have to beat Egypt in their last match today to book their second round berth.

In an earlier match, Belgium defeated Russia 6-1 to keep alive their hopes of a place in the next round.

Junior World Cup :: Spaniards out to grab first chance to enter second round

Spain will get two chances to book their berth in the second round. And they want to get it done today against South Korea in a Group C match at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here.

If they fail to do so, they can secure qualification in the their final group match against Malaysia. They go into the match against the Koreans with full points from two matches. South Korea are also in the same position and they have a final group match against England.

And it could boil down to goal difference if Spain beat the Koreans and the group matches on Friday favour Malaysia and South Korea.

Spanish coach Salvador Indurain said yesterday: “Keeping it to the last minute may complicate things. Malaysia are still in with a chance and they could trip us at the last hurdle.

“The Koreans will still be in the running even if they lose to us. That is a risk we are not willing to take. One of the teams can confirm their berth tomorrow (today) and I want it to be Spain.”

Spain started off with a 9-0 win over the United States and then defeated England 2-1.

Spain may be without top forward and skipper Roc Oliva for the match against the Koreans.

Oliva was taken out of the match against England on Tuesday after five minutes because of a muscle pull.

“The injury does not look too serious and we hope that he can recover in time to play the match,” said Indurain.

The Spaniards agree that the Koreans are a top side with good stamina and speed to back their game.

“They have been impressive in their two matches.

“But I think we have the plan to take them on.

“We will go all out for a win and by our calculations, that will be enough to put us through to the medal rounds,” said Indurain.

Junior World Cup :: India face three-way fight with Dutch, Kiwis

Former world champions India are in a three-way battle with Holland and New Zealand to qualify for the second round from Group D.

India will play against Holland at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium in Singapore today in a crucial match where they need nothing less than a win to stay in contention.

Otherwise, Holland will confirm their berth and pave the way for New Zealand to grab the other spot. The Kiwis play against lowly Singapore and should win big to keep their chances of advancing bright.

For the Indians, a 2-2 draw with New Zealand on Tuesday has changed the equation.

Team manager Anupam Gulati said yesterday that their chances would depend very much on the result of the match against Holland.

“We have to win. It’s a three-way fight and we will take it all the way to the last match. I am confident that the players will rise to the occasion,” he said.

India won the title in 2001 while Holland and New Zealand have yet to emerge as the champions.

In Group B, 1979 winners Australia and four-time champions Germany have virtually sealed their places in the second round.

Both teams have full points from two matches and need only a point in the remaining two to advance. They play each other today and have easy final group matches on Friday. Yesterday, matches in Singapore involved weaker teams and the results had no bearing on the outcome of qualification from the two groups.

Junior World Cup :: Malaysia dish out a yo-yo display in win over the Americans

Malaysia produced a Jekyll and Hyde performance in their 5-2 win over the United States in a Group C match at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here yesterday.

They were four goals up after 11 minutes of play and were swarming all over the Americans. A goal rush appeared on the cards for the Malaysians. But it stopped and they started to give away possession of the ball and soon found themselves under attack.

National coach K. Rajan was incensed with the players for their casual display and for taking their feet off the pedal.

“This is what worries me most with this team. They had everything going for them but allowed the US to get back into the game,” he said.

“We needed to win by a big margin and we made it difficult for ourselves. All they had to do was keep to the structure and play their normal game.”

Malaysia got off to a good start and opened accounts in the second minute through Mohamed Izzat Abdul Rahim, who scored from close range. They kept up their speedy play and stretched the lead six minutes later with Mohamed Marhan Mohd Jamil scoring with reverse hit.

Malaysia earned a penalty stroke in the 10th minute and Faizal Saari made the conversion to put his team 3-0 up. A minute later, Mohamed Shafiq Mohamed Zain scored his first goal of the tournament with an effort from the top of the D.

The Malaysians eased the pressure on their opponents and the US had the first good look at goal in the 21st minute. Four minutes later, Nicholas Szoke narrowed the deficit for the Americans.

The US took the initiative in the second half and had the Malaysians pegged in defence. The Americans gained two penalty corners in the 42nd and 43rd minutes but nothing came off them. But from another penalty corner in the 56th minute, Jedidiah Cunningham scored with a high flick.

In the 63rd minute, Malaysia gained their first penalty corner and Faizal was on target with the high flick. But that was all the Malaysians came up with in the second half.

In Group A, Egypt finally secured a win — beating Russia 3-0 with goals by Eslam Basha, Ahmad Shestawy and Mohamed Hamide.

Malaysia: Abdul Hakim Adnan, Khairil Annuar, Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin, Mohd Sybrie, Mohamed Nor Hafiq Abdul Ghafar, Faizal Saari, Mohd Izzat Mohd Rahim, Mohd Noor Khairul Azrain, Izwan Firdaus, R. Nadesh, Mohd Marhan Jalil.

Reserves: Kavin Kartik, Wong Khee Hon, Jamil Mohd Saidin, Mohd Shafiq Mohd Zain, Harvinder Singh.

USA: Jonathan Ginolfi, Kevin Barber, Liam Walsh, Sebastian Schreuer, Amrit Ahluwalia, Kevin Segeren, Willam Holt, Ajai Dhadwal, jedidiah Cunningham, Nicholas Szoke, Dark Pelle.

Reserves: Tyler Sundeen, Colin Scally, Viren Padhiar, Manual Martinez, Ryan Sundeen.

Junior World Cup :: South Korean skipper quarantined

South Korean skipper Kang Kyung-woo who came down with high fever two days ago could miss the rest of the Junior World Cup Finals.

The player has been quarantined at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital yesterday as a precautionary measure. This follows the recent H1N1 A flu outbreak worldwide.

Tournament medical officer Dr Kamarul Hashimi said yesterday that Kyung-woo could be in hospital for up to 10 days.

The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary, Hashim Mohamed Yusof, assured all teams in Johor Baru that they were constantly monitoring the situation.

“We have special medical units on stand-by at the hotel and stadium. All necessary precautions are being taken,” he said.

Kyung-woo played in the opening match against the United States on Sunday but was not fielded against Malaysia on Monday.

Junior World Cup :: Argentina move closer to second round

Defending champions Argentina moved closer to a second-round berth from Group A after securing a 3-0 win over Belgium at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here yesterday.

They have full points from two matches and they need another three from their remaining matches against Pakistan and Egypt to advance.

It was a tough game for the Argentinians yesterday with the Belgians making the early fight to keep them at bay for a goalless first half.

But the situation changed for Argentina in a counter attack in the 40th minute with Agustin Mazzilli scoring a field goal from close range.

Alan Gabriel Andino added the other two goals in the 53rd and 69th minutes to ensure full points for the champions.

Argentina coach Pablo Lombi said that the first half was evenly balanced but the breakthrough came with the first goal early in the second half.

“The pressure lifted and we were able to settle down to play our normal game.

“We are happy with the result as it puts us closer to the next round,” he said.

“But we still have Pakistan and Egypt to play and we cannot afford to take any one of them lightly.”

In Group C, Spain also moved closer to the second round following a 2-1 win over England in their second match.

The Spaniards scored the two goals in the first half through Salvador Piera (15th) and Xavi Lleonart (35th). Alex Edmonstone scored England’s consolation goal in the 69th minute.

Spain now have six points and they lead the group on better goal difference than South Korea.

For England, it was their second defeat in as many matches.

Junior World Cup :: Hakim angry with himself for lapses against the Koreans

Goalkeeper Abdul Hakim Adnan is angry with himself for not reading the South Koreans’ penalty corner variations better in Malaysia’s 0-2 defeat on Monday.

The 20-year-old Maybank employee has vowed to be more alert to help Malaysia remain in the hunt for a place in the second round.

“We knew that they have very good drag flickers. “We have studied their movements on video,” he said yesterday.

“The two goals could have been stopped. The first was a deflection and the second was a low flick that hit a defender’s leg before going in. It was just unlucky for us.

“I will not let it happen again. I will work harder to ensure that we stop the Americans and Spaniards in our remaining group matches.”

Hakim joined the national juniors in early 2006 and he wants to stamp his mark in the Junior World Cup to stake his claim for a place in the senior ranks.

“All the players have worked hard and we want to make the second round,” he said.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Junior World Cup :: It gets harder for Malaysians to second round hopes

Malaysia’s chances of advancing to the second round of the Junior World Cup Finals took a hard knock when they lost 0-2 to South Korea in a Group C match at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here yesterday.

A goal in each half from successful penalty corner executions gave the Koreans full points. The Koreans had in their opening match on Sunday beaten the United States 8-0 while the Malaysians scored a 1-0 win over England.

The Koreans went on the offensive from the start yesterday and their speed play had the Malaysians reeling in defence.

And they did not have to wait long to take the lead. They earned their first penalty corner in the fifth minute and Kang Moon-kyu deflected home the drag flick taken by Lee Woo-geun.

The Malaysians were kept pegged in defence and conceded another three penalty corners. But some very close defending prevented the Koreans from stretching the lead. Malaysia had just one good shot at goal in the 21st minute.

In the second half, Malaysia tried to take the fight to the Koreans but it soon fizzled out.

The Koreans pushed forward and earned another penalty corner in the 55th minute. This time, Jeong Yun-sang beat goalkeeper Abdul Hakim Adnan with a low flick.

Malaysia coach K. Rajan said that the Koreans’ better execution of the penalty corners made the difference.

“It is not over yet for us. We still have two more matches to go and the second-round berth is still in sight,” he said.

In another Group C match, Euro­pean champions Spain began their campaign with a 9-0 win over the US.

The Spaniards had total control of the match. Gabriel Debanch scored a hat-trick and Salvador Piera had a brace. The other scorers were Javier Garcia, Diego Arana, Roc Oliva and Xavier Lleonart.

Spanish coach Salvador Indurain said that they were happy to start off convincingly.

“The tougher matches are coming up and that is where the results will matter most.

“We took our time to settle down but it all went as planned once we got the first goal.”

Junior World Cup :: Pakistan’s Haseem hopes to strike it hot

Pakistani forward Haseem Khan is on a quest to emerge as the top scorer of the Junior World Cup Finals.

He got off to a flying start with a hat-trick against Russia in a Group A match on Sunday and he added two more in the 3-0 win over Egypt yesterday.

He faces tough competition with India’s Diwakar Ram who started off with five goals in the match against Singapore yesterday. The Indians won the match 10-0.

Argentina’s Guido Martin Barreiros Lopez, Kiwi Simon Child and Holland’s Bob de Gvood are just one goal behind the duo.

“It is still early and we can see that there are good players in the other teams. But I feel that I can achieve it if I can keep up a consistent scoring rate,” said Haseem.

“I have been quite consistent. At the junior level, I have scored 46 goals in over 40 matches. I have also scored six times at the senior level from seven matches.”

The 19-year-old from Karachi wants to emulate his uncle and idol, Hanif Khan, in making a mark in the national team.

“He is my role model and I took up the game after watching him play. He has won the big titles, among them the Olympics and the World Cup. I would like to follow in his footsteps. This is a passion for me and I will work hard to achieve this,” he said.

Haseem also has a brother who plays hockey. Asim was in the Pakistan national junior squad last year but he is no longer eligible to play in the age-group.

Haseem turns 19 on July 15 and is looking at giving himself a perfect birthday present by helping Pakistan lift the Cup.

“I want to help Pakistan regain the Junior World Cup. By having personal targets, it will drive me to help my team win matches here,” he said.

With two wins in the bag, Pakistan are looking at beating defending champions Argentina and Belgium as well in their remaining Group A matches.

Junior World Cup :: Champions Argentina get off to flying start

Argentina began the defence of the Junior World Cup with a 9-3 win over lowly Russia in a Group A at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here.

Nahuel Salis set Argentina on the road to victory with a field goal in the ninth minute before Guido Martin Barreiros Lopez scored the first of his four goals in the 14th minute. Barreiros Lopez was also on target in the 30th, 31st and 68th minutes.

The other scorers for Argentina were Leandro Tolini (23rd), Agustin Mazzilli (26th, 49th) and Juan Cruz Aguilleiro (66th).

The Russians replied through Alexey Mayorov (30th) and Nikolai Yankun (61st, 70th).

In another match, Pakistan chalked up their second win in Group A, beating Egypt 3-0.

The Pakistanis were lethargic yesterday and for most part of the match laboured against the defensive Egypt, who did well to end the first half without conceding a goal by clearing the ball quickly out of danger.

Haseem Khan finally broke the duck and eased the pressure on Pakistan with a field goal in the 46th minute. Four minute later, Kashif Ali scored from the penalty corner. Haseem went on to score his second goal of the match in the 54th minute.

Pakistan coach K.M. Junaid was pleased with the result but felt that the humid conditions affected his players.

“Having to play twice in a row and that too under such humid weather was tough on the young players,” he said.

“I am glad that we did not falter. These are points we need to make the second round. There are still two tough matches but the players will gain in confidence from this win.”

Pakistan play against Argentina tomorrow and wrap up their group fixtures against Belgium on Friday.

Junior World Cup :: Belgians plot to ambush the Argentines

The underdogs in Group A for a second round berth, Belgium, aim to ambush defending champions Argentina and pick up at least a point.

Team manager Phil Rooseleer said that their chances making the second round would very much depend on how they fared against Argentina and also Pakistan.

“If we can get a point off either of them, then there is a chance for us to go through. We would like to think that we can upset one of them here,” he said. “Although we beat Egypt 5-1 in the opening match (on Sunday), we had a poor outing. We were over cautious and at one stage the match looked headed for a draw. But, thankfully, our penalty corners worked.”

Rooseleer said besides 17-year-old drag flicker Maximillian Peters, who scored a hat-trick in the win over Egypt, they had another ace in the pack for penalty corners.

“I don’t want to reveal his name just yet. He is even better than Peters. We will let him loose tomorrow against the champions,” he said.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Junior World Cup :: A winning start for Malaysia

Forward Faizal Saari scored the crucial goal to give Malaysia a 1-0 victory over England in their opening Group C match of the Junior World Cup Finals at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here yesterday.

It was a supreme performance from the Kelantan player, who was in the sin bin for 12 minutes when he was yellow carded in the 18th minute.

But as soon as he came back on, Malaysia earned a penalty corner and Faizal, who is the main drag flicker for the team, made no mistake with his attempt. The 30th-minute goal was enough to give Malaysia full points.

Malaysia got off to a nervous start but gained in confidence as the match wore on.

For most of the second half, the Malaysians defended in their half but they were dangerous on the counter attack to keep England goalkeeper Ian Scanlon on the alert.

The Malaysians were determined to win the match and held out on three penalty corners in the last 15 minutes of the match.

Coach K. Rajan was happy with the result but felt that the team could have done much better.

“There is room for improvement and we need to step up a gear. The important thing is for the players to recover quickly for the match with the Koreans tomorrow,” he said after the match.

“A few of the players came down with cramps and we need to ensure that they are back on their feet quickly. The Koreans play a fast game and we have to be ready for it.”

In the other Group C match, South Korea routed the United States 7-0. Drag flicker Lee Woo-geun scored a hat-trick from penalty corners in the ninth, 25th and 29th minutes.

The Koreans had full control of the match and opened accounts through Kang Moon-kyu in the 18th minute. His twin brother, Moon-kweon, was also on target in the 44th minute. The other scorers for the Koreans were Lee Dong-hyun (47th) and Kim Ju-hun (58th).

South Korean coach Shin Seok-kyu said he was happy with the win and hoped to collect three points as well in the match against Malaysia today.

“Yes, I believe that we can beat Malaysia in our next game. It was a good start and the big win should only boost the players confidence. We want a convincing win,” he said.

Junior World Cup :: Korean twins set for big roles in senior team

South Korean will for the first time in their international hockey history have identical twins in their ranks.

The Kang brothers, Moon-kyu and Moon-kweon, were born just two minutes apart. But their paths have gone very much the same way as they make their debut in the Junior World Cup Finals.

The older Moon-kweon has in fact gone one step ahead, having played for the senior side in the Beijing Olympics last year.

Team manager Shin Seok-kyu said yesterday that both players were among the most talented ones in their side and they would certainly make the grade to the senior team.

“Both are university students and have started playing hockey full time. They are set to play for the national team for a long time,” he said.

The twins hail from the Kim Hae. Moon-kyu studies at the Cho Sun University while Moon-kweon is with the Korean Sports University.

“I brought them into the junior squad three years ago when I was appointed coach,” said Seok-kyu.

“It was through a talent spotting exercise at a school game that I saw them in action. I was sure that they will go far and so far I have been proven right.”

Moon-kweon plays in the forward line while Moon-kyu is their playmaker, taking the centre-half role.

“What makes them different is the extra work they put in training. Usually when we finish, they will still continue training on their own. They are very committed and I have no doubt about their ability,” said Seok-kyu.

The twins are assured of places in the national senior team as Seok-kyu will take over the helm after the Junior World Cup Finals.

“It is not favouritism ... they deserve the places. I am sure they will prove themselves in this tournament,” he said.

Junior World Cup :: Pakistanis go on scoring spree against the Russians

Former Junior World Cup champions Pakistan started off their campaign here with a bang when they hammered Russia 7-2 in a Group A match at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Pakistan’s senior team player Haseem Khan chalked up a hat-trick, scoring in the sixth, 49th and 66th minutes.

Kashif Ali scored a brace (56th, 70th) while Shafqat Ali and Zubair Mohamed added the other goals in the 21st and 53rd minutes respectively.

Russia earned their goals through Alexey Mayorov and Nikolai Yankun in the 28th and 52nd minutes.

Pakistan coach K.M. Junaid said that they were happy to start on a winning note.

“Winning big in an opening match is a bonus. It is a good start for us and we need to build on it. We started off nervously but settled down when we got the early goals,” he said.

Pakistan, winners of the trophy in 1979, have another easy match today against Egypt, who were beaten 1-5 by Belgium yesterday.

Belgian young defender Maximillian Peters scored the first hat-trick of the tournament. Peters put Belgium in front with a field goal in the 24rd minute.

One minute into the second half, Belgium increased their lead when Renaud Pangrazio scored from top D.

The Egyptians pulled a goal back in the 41st minute when Houssam Ghabran scored from a field attempt.

As the Egyptians opened up play, the Belgians were able to make good use of their counter attacks.

In a three-minute spell from the 67th minute, Belgium scored three goals. Peters scored in the 67th and 69th minute off two penalty corners while Alexandre de Paeuw added the fifth in the 70th minute.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Div 1 :: BJSS whip Unimap to claim MHL Division One top position

Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) chalked up an impressive 4-1 win over Universiti Malaysia Perlis (Unimap) in a Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Division One match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

BJSS, the MHL Under-19 double champions, went on the offensive from the start but had to wait until the 22nd minute to score from close range through Faridzul Atif. And in the 33rd minute, Faridzul was on target again with another field attempt.

Unimap, who drew 1-1 in the first match against Armed Forces Juniors got back into the match with a penalty corner set-piece goal by Atif Gazali in the 40th minute.

BJSS, who drew 3-3 with Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS) in the opening match on Friday, missed a number of sitters. But they managed to score two penalty corner goals in the last 12 minutes of the match.

Shazrul Imran made it 3-1 in the 58th minute and nine minutes later, BJSS Hasrul Zari went on target.

BJSS coach S. Prakash said that his players were slowly but surely getting more confident playing against older opponents.

“This definitely is a good indication for our coming matches against stronger teams in the league,” he said.

“But my boys cannot afford to miss chances like they did against Unimap.

“We should have won by a bigger margin. The forwards have to sharpen up their finishing.”

Combining career and hockey is the way for Jiwa

The return of defender Jiwa Mohan provided a big boost to the national hockey team in the Air Asia-Asia Cup tournament.

But the 28-year-old has ruled out making a full-time comeback to the team.

Jiwa said that he would consider playing for the team in top-level tournaments but he wanted to continue juggling his time between his job career and hockey.

“Full-time hockey is out for me. I firmly believe that one can work and still play top-level hockey. There is not need for me to be with the team full time,” he said.

“The Asia Cup is over and I will go back to my work (as an engineer) in Perth but will continue to train and play for my club there.”

The vastly experience Jiwa had quit the national team after the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2007. But coach Tai Beng Hai convinced him to return for the Asia Cup. He came back just three days before the tournament and was part of the back four in all five matches.

The versatile Jiwa added that the team had a lot of potential and could go far with proper guidance and hard work.

“I am sure we are heading in the right direction. It will be good if more of our players play in foreign leagues. It will be good experience for them and give better understanding on the requirements at the top level,” he said.

“I have to again press home the point that players need not be with the team full time. I have proved that one can always work and play hockey.

“Previously, we had decentralised training and assemble only when there is a tournament to prepare for. It is important that players develop their careers along with hockey.”

Jiwa is expected to make himself available for Malaysia’s campaign in the World Cup qualifying tournament in November.

Fourth place in Asia Cup the right tonic for Malaysia ahead of World Cup qualifiers

Malaysia showed more positive attributes in the Air Asia-Asia Cup hockey tournament that can only take them forward in their effort to improve on their world ranking.

The main agenda for the national team this year is to get a place in the 2010 World Cup Finals. And finishing fourth in the Asia Cup tournament here has given them a place in the qualifying tournament along with runners-up Pakistan, China, and Japan.

South Korea emerged as the champions to earn direct entry to the World Cup Finals.

In the Asia Cup, Malaysia showed much better fitness. They also played with better commitment and greater confidence.

Credit must be given to coaches Tai Beng Hai and Nor Saiful Zaini for the turnaround in the team’s fortune.

The next assignment is the Champions Challenge II in Dublin from July 5-11. The tournament offers ranking points and Malaysia need to take it seriously.

Malaysia are now ranked 15th in the world and they are the second seeds in the tournament after 11th ranked Japan. The other teams in the fray are Ireland, Russia, France, Chile, Poland and Austria.

Beng Hai said that the tournament would be part of their preparation for the World Cup qualifiers in November and the team would resume training after a few days’ break.

“The focus is the World Cup qualifiers. We started our preparations four months ago and the team have done well,” he said.

“What lies ahead is tougher and we need to keep the improvement level going. I believe the players are just as determined as the coaching staff to work on their game.”

Changes in the team are expected, considering that the National Juniors will be available after the Junior World Cup Finals in June.

“We have said before that any changes to the training squad will be done after June. We know there are several players who could be roped into the squad. We now have 28 players in the team and some of them are still nursing injuries,” said Beng Hai.

The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) also have to make several decisions.

One is on whether to continue their search for a foreign coach or to offer Beng Hai and Nor Saiful Zaini long-term contracts. The duo have delivered on the targets set by the MHF — taking Malaysia to the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final and Asia Cup semi-finals.

The MHF must look at the domestic competitions, among them the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), which will affect the team’s preparation for the World Cup qualifying tournament. Teams in the Premier League of the MHL, which is scheduled to start in October, are unlikely to agree on releasing their national players.

The national team are in need of top-level practice matches. They came into the Asia Cup with seven matches against South Korean clubs sides, five games in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and one friendly against Pakistan.

“We will look into increasing the number of matches when the new programme is finalised. There are areas where we can improve further but emphasis will still be on fitness training. There will be no let up in the way we have been working over the last four months,” said Beng Hai.

The outings in Kuantan and before that in Ipoh in the Sultan Azlan Cup tournament have showed that Malaysia have what it takes to regain their standings in world hockey. But it will take harder work from the players for it to bear fruits.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Asia Cup 2009 :: South Koreans use their speed to overcome Pakistan

South Korea won the Air Asia-Asia Cup for the third time when they beat Pakistan 1-0 in an exciting final at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium here yesterday.

The Koreans have now equalled the three titles won by Pakistan in the series. South Korea’s two other triumphs were in 1994 and 1999 while Pakistan had won it in 1982, 1985 and 1989.

In yesterday’s final, both teams had chances to settle the issue early but it was the Koreans, who played a fast game in the second-half, who finally prevailed when they scored the only goal of the match off their third penalty corner of the match.

Kim Byung-hoon’s 66th minute strike – a trademark drag flick – took his goal tally to six, making him the top scorer of the tournament.

The match was a see-saw battle, with both sides attacking at every opportunity.

Pakistan even had the ball in the net early in the second-half but Rehan Butt’s effort was ruled out for an infringement.

Pakistan goalkeeper Salman Akhbar also played a grand game to keep the Koreans at bay in the early stages.

The first-half saw both team getting three penalty corners each but all to no avail.

You Hyo-sik and Hong Eun-seung capped a fine night for the Koreans when they won the best player of the tournament and man-of-the-match awards respectively.

Malaysia’s S. Kumar (pic) was voted the best goalkeeper.

Korean coach Cho Myung-jun described the win as “the dawn of a new era for Korean hockey”.

“We will look at this win as the start of better things to come. It was not an easy final although we were confident of our chances,” he said.

“Pakistan played one of their best matches and could have scored early.

“But our plan to have a go at them in the second-half proved crucial.”

Asia Cup 2009 :: Malaysia go down to gutsy China in sudden-death penalties

Malaysia failed to retain their third placing in the Asia Cup hockey tournament after going down 6-7 to China in sudden-death penalty shoot-out in the classification match at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium here yesterday.

Both teams were level at 3-3 in regulation time. Even extra-time failed to break the deadlock.

The Malaysians had four chances to claim victory. They led three times in the match proper. Then, in the shoot-out, they were just a flick away from victory.

In the end, China prevailed. In the mandatory five flicks, only Mohd Shukri Mutalib, Mohd Amin Rahim and Jiwa Mohan converted while Nabil Fiqri and Kelvinder Singh fluffed their attempts.

For China, Song Yi, Hu Hui Ren and Liu Xian Tang converted their flicks with Lu Feng Ren and Sun Tian Jun missed theirs.

In the sudden-death shoot-out, Malaysia scored through Amin, Jiwa and Shukri while Nabil against missed his flick.

China converted all four through Song Yi, Hui Ren, Xian Tang and Tian Jun to claim third spot.

This is the second time that China have made the podium in the Asia Cup. The first time was in 1982, when they also finished third.

The only consolation for Malaysia is that they will join China in the November qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup.

The game came alive in the very first minute – that was how long it took Malaysia to open accounts.

Kelvinder Singh collected the ball in the middle and dribbled into the D before sending a cross which was deflected into goal by Ismail Abu.

Instead of going for the kill, Malaysia took their foot off the pedal and this gave the Chinese plenty of space to attack. And the Chinese duly equalised in the 19th minute.

Xiang Tang collected a cross from Na Yu Bo and worked his way into the D, where he was felled by goalkeeper S. Kumar. Skipper Song Yi converted the penalty stroke.

Malaysia regained their lead in the 32nd minute off their first penalty corner when Mohd Amin’s low flick was deflected into goal by Chua Boon Huat.

The second-half saw both teams playing well in patches. Still, it did not take long for China to pull level again. Again it was Song Yi who came to China’s rescue, slotting home a penalty corner goal in the 47th minute.

Malaysia, who missed two clear-cut chances to go ahead after that, finally regained their lead in the 65th minutes through Nabil Fiqri Mohd Nor.

But like the two previous occasions, China equalised for the third time. This time Jiang Xia Shang found the net in the 67th minute to take the game into extra-time.

MALAYSIA: S. Kumar, Mohd Amin Rahim, Mohd Madzli Ikmar, Mohd Shahrun Nubli, Mohd Shukri Mutalib, Ismail Abu, Azlan Misron, Kelvinder Singh, Jiwa Mohan, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Nabil Fiqri Mohd Nor.

Reserves: Chua Boon Huat, S. Selvaraju, Engku Abdul Malek, Jivan Mohan, Hafifihafiz Hanafi.

CHINA: Su Ri Feng, Sun Tian Jun, Jiang Xi Shang, Song Yi, Lu Feng Hui, Guo Zhong Qiang, Liu Xian Tang, Cui Yong Xin, Meng Jun, Na Yu Bu, Hu Hui Ren.

Reserves: Li Jia Jia, Chen Jin, Dong Yang, Sun Zhi Xin, Sun Long.