Sultan Azlan Shah: Australia beats host Malaysia to lift the Cup
IPOH, Malaysia (AFP) –
World champions Australia won their seventh Sultan Azlan Shah Cup title on Sunday, defeating hosts Malaysia 3-2 in an exciting final as South Korea placed third.
The final went down to the wire with Trent Mitton scoring the winner in the game’s dying moments, leaving Malaysia runner-ups for a fourth time.
But the home team could take heart from a spirited performance which began with them taking an early lead courtesy a penalty corner by Faizal Saari, Malaysia’s second of the match, in the third minute of play.
The Australians fought back hard and put their opponents under pressure, as Nick Budgeon scored from their first penalty corner in the 29th minute.
A minute later Craig Boyne added a second off a field attempt to give his team the first-half edge.
Ahmad Tajuddin Jalil scored the equaliser in the second half, but the match ended with heartbreak for the home team in the 70th minute.
Mitton was named the man-of-the-match for the final, while Malaysia’s Faizal and India’s Rupinder Pal Singh were the tournament’s top scorers with six goals each.
Malaysia coach Paul Revington said the last-minute loss was “disappointing” but added the team put up a “good effort (while) playing one of the best teams in the world”.
South Korea took bronze after edging out last year’s winner New Zealand 2-1.
The Koreans took the lead in the first half through a penalty corner converted by Hyun Hye-Sung.
New Zealand got the equaliser in the second half through Stephen Jenness, but the Koreans secured their third-place finish thanks to another penalty corner by Nam Hyun-Woo.
South Korea team manager Shin Seok-Kyo said it was a good finish after a poor start to the tournament earlier in the week.
“We are still early in our preparations, and this will help us with the younger players coming through the ranks,” he added.
India defeated Pakistan 4-2 to take fifth spot.
Pakistan took the lead through Muhammad Imran from their first penalty corner attempt, but India hit back through Rupinder from a penalty corner.
Then Akashdeep Singh netted a field goal, and Malak Singh increased the lead. Pakistan’s second goal came from Syed Kashif Shah before Rupinder scored again.
In the preliminary round, India already beat their archrivals, who also came last in 2012.
India’s national hockey team announced Friday that it was calling off a series against Pakistan planned for next month amid growing tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours.