Pakistan beat Korea 1-0 and win the tournament

By Sundeep Misra
Saturday, Feb 26 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Pakistan became the first team in the Sultan Azlan Shah to retain the title when they beat South Korea 1-0 with a last minute goal by Kamran Ashraf.

Both the teams were goalless at the break. It was actually Korea who had the edge in the match but Pakistan’s goalkeeper, who was later adjudged man-of-the-match, played his heart out for Pakistan effecting no less than six saves of field attempts and penalty corners.

In the other matches of the day, India beat Malaysia 4-1 for third spot and a bronze medal while Germany beat New Zealand 3-2. Germany scored the match-winner with a golden goal. India were also awarded the Fair Play trophy.

The pace was fast and furious from the word go. Both Korea and Pakistan looked as if they were hell bent on scoring early and putting the pressure on the opposition.

In the 6th minute, Kamran Ashraf, put through by a brilliant ball from Sarwar in the midfield, went into the circle but the Korean goalkeeper advanced and cut the move off.

Mohammed Anis also had a good chance but here too the Korean goalie Kim Yoon saved the situation for Korea. Actually the midfield was being croweded out by both the teams so as to stifle each teams attack.

Song Seung Tae had a good move in the 10th minute but Pakistan goalkeeper Ahmed Alam came out and deflected the ball over the line.

The attacks continued from both ends and so did the good defending. It was a furious pace that saw the forwards from both sides darting into each other’s circles like Olympic sprinters.

In the 22nd minute, Pakistan earned it’s first penalty corner but Ali Raza’s shot was saved by Kim Yoon brilliantly. In the very next minute, Kang Keon Wook had a clear look at the Pakistan goal but shot out. Pakistan had another penalty corner before the break but the Korean defenders rushed out and saved.

At the break, both the teams were goalless. The pace was slow after the interval. Probably the speed at which the teams had played the first half had slowed them down. Both Korea and Pakistan were probing each others defences, finding a way to get the lead. Kamran Ashraf had a great chance five minutes after the break but his shot was saved by goalkeeper Kim Yoon.

Korea had the best chance after the break when Kang Keon Wook’s snap shot looked like going in but at the last minute, Pakistan goalkeeper Ahmed Alam brought off a brilliant save.

Pakistan earned their third penalty corner in the 56th minute but Ali Raza’s shot was brilliantly saved by Kim Yoon, diving to his left to deflect the ball over the line.

With ten minutes to go, Korea earned their first penalty corner but Ji Seung Hwan’s flick was saved by a diving Ahmed Alam. Korea had another opening, three minutes before close but Song Seung Tae’s shot was again saved by Ahmed Alam.

With just a minute left in the game, Pakistan made the Azlan Shah Cup their own when Sarwar passed to Kamran, on just top of the circle. Kamran’s snap shot beat the Korean defence and the goalkeeper for the match-winner.

With only a minute left, Korea didn’t have many options as Pakistan played out time. 


Fairplay Trophy: India
Top goalscorer: Yeo Woon Kon (Korea)
Most promising player: Suhaimi Ibrahim (Malaysia)
Player of the Tournament: Yeo Woon Kon
Man of the final: Ahmed Alam (Pakistan's goalkeeper)

Azlan Shah Standings:

Country P W D L F A Pts
Pakistan 6 5 1 0 15 8 16
S. Korea 6 5 1 0 17 8 16
India 6 3 0 3 10 10 9
Malaysia 6 3 0 3 16 14 9
Germany 6 2 1 3 10 14 7
Canada 6 0 1 5 8 14 1
New Zealand 6 0 4 4 8 16 2

India beat Malaysia 4-1
By Sundeep Misra
Saturday, Feb 26 2000 Kuala Lumpur

India came into form, a little too late in the tournament when they thrashed hosts Malaysia 4-1 to finish with the bronze medal at the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament at the Bukit Jalil stadium. Though it was Malaysia who went into the lead in the third minute by a penalty corner goal from Kuhan, India fought back with goals from Baljit Singh Dhillon (2), Dhanraj Pillay and Dilip Tirkey. Both India and Malaysia were playing without senior players Nor Saiful and Mukesh Kumar, both of whom were injured. The shocker came in the third minute when Malaysia earned their first penalty corner. Kuhan’s shot was on target as it went into goal deflected off Dhanraj Pillay’s stick.

The Indians slowly regrouped as Baljit Singh Dhillon again started moving the ball upfront by falling back into the midfield. In the 6th minute, Dhanraj had the ball in the Malaysian circle but Kuhan brought him down. The resultant stroke was converted by Baljit Dhillon for India’s equaliser.

The Indians were now pushing as Riaz also started switching positions with the centre-half Thirumalvalvan. One of Riaz’s passes through the middle found Pillay on top of the Malysian circle. Dodging past one defender, Pillay used his reverse hit to deadly effect as the ball zoomed into goal beating goalkeeper Mohammed Nasihin.

In the 23rd minute, Malaysia earned their second penalty corner but Kuhan’s shot was deflected over the goal by Pillay who was rushing out to defend. At the break, India led 2-1.

India picked up momentum in the second half after Sukhbir Singh Gill was brought in for Mohammed Riaz and the moves started with full flow.

Baljit Saini had to leave the ground for treatment as the stick hit him on the finger. He came back into the match ten minutes later with a bandage on the finger.

It was a Dhanraj Pillay attack that saw India earn it’s first penalty corner in the 42nd minute. But Dilip Tirkey’s hit went out. Three minutes later, a move that began with Sukhbir Gill passing to Thirumal saw Pillay taking the ball and then passing it back to Thirumal in the circle who shot straight to the goalkeeper. Yet another penalty corner was wasted in the 47th minute, India’s second, but they finally managed to increase the lead off the fourth penalty corner in the 54th minute. Dilip Tirkey’s direct hit flew into goal off a Malaysian defenders stick. India led 3-1.

It was then that the game was stopped as a thunder-shower hit the stadium in full ferocity.

After an hour and twenty minutes, the match began again and India were in full flow as they virtually cut the Malaysian defence to ribbons.

Pillay and Dhillon moved into the Malaysian half at will and the player who excelled with his through passes was Baljit Singh Saini. The turf was still water-logged in sections but both the teams battled on courageously.

Dhanraj Pillay had a brilliant chance in the 62nd minute when he latched onto a through pass from Dhillon and was face-to-face with the goalkeeper Mohammed Nasihin. But Nasihin stopped Pillat by charging out. Pillay still managed to hold onto the ball and passed to Setnhil who faced with an empty goal shot out.

In the 67th minute, Baljit Dhillon went into the Malaysian half and after beating a defender, made space and his first timer from the top of the circle beat the goalkeeper Nasihin for India to take a 4-1 lead.

With 56 seconds to go, India earned their fifth penalty corner but Tirkey’s shot even though it went in was ruled too high. India thus have finished third, the same position they had at the Asia Cup in November 1999. 


India beat New Zealand 2-1
By Sundeep Misra
Thursday, Feb 24 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Asian Games Champions brought up their third win in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament beating New Zealand 2-1 to qualify for the third/fourth position match against hosts Malaysia.

India now have nine points, two ahead of European Champions Germany who will play New Zealand for 5/6th position. In the other matches of the day, Pakistan beat Canada 2-1 while Asia Cup Champions Korea beat hosts Malaysia 5-4.

India would have been up a goal in the first minute but Dhanraj Pillay’s shot was blocked by the Kiwi goalkeeper Scott Anderson. Their first penalty corner came up in the third minute but Tirkey’s shot was also blocked by Anderson.

India pushed hard through Riaz and with Dhillon also falling back to send through balls to Deepak Thakur and Pillay. New Zealand after taking the brunt of the Indian attacks decided to follow up with a couple of their own. Ryan Archibald after an indifferent start was now playing well as his first through ball to Umesh Parag produced New Zealand’s first penalty corner that was wasted as the shot went out.

The second consecutive penalty corner in the next minute saw Jude Menezes padding up but the rebound was picked up by Umesh as he flicked in to give the lead to New Zealand.

Stunned by the Kiwi goal, India pulled out all the stops as Saini and Riaz virtually dominated the midfield sending some lovely through balls to the forwardline.

One of these moves resulted in India earning it’s second penalty corner in the 26th minute. Dhillon passed it to Deepak Thakur who deflected it in for the equaliser as the Kiwis protested that the ball had touched Deepak’s foot. Umpire Irfan Zaidi stopped the game and checked with the other Malaysian umpire Ravinderpal and then declared the goal. Two minutes later, Saini made a great move down the middle and gave the ball to Thakur in the circle. Thakur’s shot was padded up by the Kiwi goalie but Pillay who had been following up picked up the rebound and slotted it home to give India the lead. At the break, India led 2-1.

The second half saw India defending as the Kiwis suddenly saw their opportunity. It was a surprising tactic by India as with a 2-1 lead, the Kiwis could have scored the equaliser. And that opportunity came in the 50th minute when Umesh Parag was stick-checked by Dilip Tirkey.

But the resultant stroke was shot over the goalpost by Creg Russ. New Zealand had wasted a superb chance of drawing level.

Even after Sameer Dad was introduced India refused to move into the attack mode. But the Kiwis attacked and twice again they came close to scoring as the Indian goal just about barely survived.

India played badly and won while New Zealand had a good game in the second half yet failed to find the equaliser. 


Pakistan beat Canada 2-1
By Sundeep Misra
Thursday, Feb 24 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Reigning Champions Pakistan continued their unbeaten run in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup beating Pan-American Champions Canada 2-1 in their last round-robin match. It was obvious that Pakistan were not going all out as the 2-1 win suggests.

But it was Canada who took the lead in the 25th minute when Seam Campbell scored after a melee in the Pakistan circle. Seeing the ball run free, Sean fired in a first-timer to give Canada the lead. Pakistan fought back but today Mumammad Sarwar was off-colour and not pushing hard enough. Still Pakistan managed the equaliser, a minute before the break, when Imran Yousuf banged in the penalty corner.

The reigning champions, however, clinched the match, with a 50th minute field goal by Muhammad Sarwar. Canada tried coming back into the game with a couple of fine moves but Pakistan goalkeeper Ahmed Alam foiled them with timely saves. 


S Korea beat Malaysia 5-4
By Sundeep Misra
Thursday, Feb 24 2000 Kuala Lumpur

In the other match of the day, Asia Cup Champions were stretched fully by hosts Malaysia in a thrilling match that Korea finally won 5-4. The highlight of the Korean victory was a hat-trick by Yeo Woon Kon who scored in the 10th, 32nd and 68th minutes for Korea. The other goals for Korea came through Jeong Jong Ha who scored from a stroke in the 25th minute and Kang Keong Wook off a field goal. Korea had already clinched a place in the final before the match with Malaysia.

For Malaysia, Kuhan and Chairil scored two goals each. For a brief while in the 25th minute, Malaysia took the lead when Kuhan scored off two consecutive penalty corners in the 19th and 22nd minute. But Korea equalised three minutes from the break when Yee Woon Kon slotted in a field goal.

After Malaysia had equalised 3-3 with a Chairil Anwar goal in the 48th minute, Korea took the lead in the 51st minute when Kang Keon Wook scored.

But Chairil was again on target banging in a rebound in the 56th minute.

Korea with two minutes left in the match clinched the match-winner after picking up a rebound off the upright and tapping it past the Malaysian goalkeeper.

Korea, like Pakistan haven’t lost a match in the tournament. They drew one game with Pakistan in the earlier pool matches. Korea will now play Pakistan in the final on Saturday. 


Pakistan beat Germany 4-2
By Sundeep Misra
Thursday, Feb 23 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Reigning Champions Pakistan played their best game of the tournament thrashing European Champions Germany 4-2 in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup here at the Bukit Jalil Stadium. The victory meant that Pakistan were into the final for the second year running.

Though it was Germany who opened the account in the 7th minute, Pakistan came back strongly and with Muhammad Sarwar absolutely brilliant today in the midfield. Upfront Atif Bashir, Muhammed Anis and Kamran Ashraf ran rings around the German defence.

For Germany, their control on the game was in only sporadic bursts. Oliver Domke didn’t have much support from the midfield and thus was mostly hemmed in by three Pakistan defenders whenever he had the ball. Germany took the lead in the 7th minute when Florian Kunz flicked in past a diving Ahmed Alam in the Pakistan goal. Stunned by the early goal, Pakistan took their time in settling down and came back with the equaliser in the 15th minute when Kamran Ashraf scored off a field goal after working in the ball with Atif Bashir.

The lead for Pakistan came in the 29th minute when substitute Kashif Javaid tapped the ball past German goalkeeper after Sarwar had done all the hard work by going past three German defenders. At the break, Pakistan led 2-1.

It was off break that Germany got the equaliser. A Bechmann burst through the midfield saw him being stick-checked in the circle and the resultant penalty corner was banged in by Phillip Crone. But Pakistan pressed on as Sarwar and Atif Bashir opened up the German defence repeatedly. It was very clear that this German side wasn’t as fit as their predecessors.

Two minutes after the German equaliser, Pakistan took the lead again for the second time in the match when off a penalty corner Imran Yousuf flicked high into the net, out of reach of the German goalkeeper Arnold.

The Germans were slackening in the midfield and with the Pakistani’s on a roll, goals were only a matter of time. It came in the 59th minute when Atif Bashir and Anis moved into the circle.

Bashir had the ball on top of the circle and his first timer sped in past German goalkeeper Arnold.

With this victory Pakistan enter the final of the Azlan Shah Cup where they will now meet Korea. The South Koreans have a match against Malaysia and even if they lose to the hosts, they are still through to the final.

India will play their match against New Zealand and if they win they will play Malaysia for third/fourth position. 


India beat Malaysia 2-1
By Sundeep Misra
Tuesday, Feb 22 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Asian Games Champions India beat hosts Malaysia 2-1 to be in the running for a third place finish here at the Bukit Jalil Stadium. In pouring rain, India were stretched to breaking point before finally running out winners by the close margin of 2-1.

Malaysia, however, were the ones who took the lead in the 11th minute when Suhaini scored.

India equalised through a Baljit Singh Dhillon flick and then took the lead through Deepak Thakur in the 32nd minute. With the rains coming down, the match was expected to be slow.But Malaysia were off to a flying start and they kept pushing the Indians back. The Indian midfield which faded away at the end of the match, however, were up to the task in the first half. Riaz sent a lovely through ball to Mukesh who gave it to an overlapping Dhillon. But the Indian forward slipped in the process and his shot hit the goalpost board from the outside.

After a couple of stirring runs from Mukesh, Malaysia appeared to settle down. Malaysian captain Saiful darted into the Indian circle and sent a superb ball for Suhaini who drew out Indian goalkeeper Prasad and then slotted the ball into the Indian goal. Against the run of play, Malaysia had taken the lead.

Baljit Singh Saini who had a good game in the first half almost scored in the 18th minute. Getting the ball on the halfway mark, Saini suddenly changed pace, rushed into the Malaysian half and gave it to Mukesh. The Indian outside-right went into the Malaysian circle and gave it back to Saini whose first timer was saved by Malaysian goalkeeper Izuhan Suhardi.

A minute later, another Indian attack earned them their first penalty corner and Baljit Singh Dhillon’s flick went low to beat the Malaysian defence for the equaliser.

The Indian finishing had nothing to be admired at. In the 26th minute, Dhillon after beating two Malaysians gave a superb ball to Pillay who went in with Deepak Thakur and with the equation at 2:1, they still couldn’t beat the goalkeeper.

Two minutes before the interval, India scored off a break. Deepak Thakur moved in tandem with Gagan Ajit Singh and after Gagan relayed the ball back to him in the circle, his reverse hit beat the Malysian goalkeeper for India to take the lead at 2-1. At the break, India led 2-1.

Malaysia piled on the pressure after the interval taking the fight to the Indian camp. They had two penalty corners in the 47th and 48th minutes. But their best chance came in the 50th minute when Malaysia were awarded a stroke but Indian goalkeeper smartly saved the flick from Kuhan.

Almost till the dying minutes, Malaysia attacked but the Indian defence today was brilliant with Dilip Tirkey and Dinesh Nayak playing their hearts out.

With the three minutes to go, India had a penalty corner but the umpire gave Malaysia a free hit after he found India wasting time in taking the penalty corner.

After this defeat, Malaysia have nine points and if they have to keep their chances of making the final alive, they will have to beat Korea in their next match.

India play New Zealand in their next game. In the other match of the day, New Zealand almost upset the European Champions Germany before the Germans fought back to draw the match.

The Kiwis were 2-0 up with goals by Brett Leaver in the 7th minute off a penalty corner and then Philip Burrows scoring a field goal.

Germany scored through Oliver Domke in the 50th minute and then levelled the scores in the 61st minute when Florian Kunz converted a penalty corner. 


New Zealand draw with Germany 2-2
By Sundeep Misra
Tuesday, Feb 22 2000 Kuala Lumpur

New Zealand almost upset the European Champions Germany before the Germans fought back to draw the match.

The Kiwis were 2-0 up with goals by Brett Leaver in the 7th minute off a penalty corner and then Philip Burrows scoring a field goal.

Germany scored through Oliver Domke in the 50th minute and then levelled the scores in the 61st minute when Florian Kunz converted a penalty corner. 


South Korea beat Canada 2-1
By Sundeep Misra
Tuesday, Feb 22 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Asia Cup Champions South Korea have almost assured themselves of a final place in the 10th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup here at the Bukit Jalil stadium. In match that was held up for almost an hour because of heavy rain, the Koreans beat Pan-American Champions Canada 2-1.

It was a win that came after much hard work. Korea were quick to capitalise to Canada’s sluggish start as they pumped in two goals in the first eight minutes. Kim Kyung Seok found himself in the Canadian circle with a pass from the midfield. A feint sent the defender the wrong way as his shot beat Canadian goalkeeper Mike Mahood to give Korea the lead in the fifth minute.

Three minutes later, in the 8th minute, Hwang Jong Hyun’s shot from the left of the circle beat Mike who went the wrong way. Two goals in the first eight minutes and it seemed that Korea would open up the floodgates. But Canada fought all the way finally scoring off a penalty corner in the 24th minute when Peter Milkovich banged in a direct shot. At the break, Korea led 2-1. Then the rains came down as huge sheets of water fell flooding the turf.

After an hour the game restarted but Canada were hell bent on taking the fight to the Koreans.

The second half saw Canada work hard to equalise but the Koreans defended well. Rob Short, Rick Roberts did good work in the midfield but their passes were cut off by the Korean defenders. A couple of sharp chances in the circle were there for Canada but their finishing was just not up to the mark.

Korea now have 13 points and if they beat Malaysia they will clinch a place in the final.

Canada still have to record their first victory and they are last in the standings with one point. 


Pakistan beat Malaysia 3-2
By Sundeep Misra
Monday, Feb 21 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Reigning Champions Pakistan ended hosts Malaysia’s amazing winning streak in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup defeating them 3-2 in an exciting encounter at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

A capacity crowd of 15,000 cheered on the home team and kept it’s confidence high even after Pakistan had taken a 2-0 lead. The Malaysians stormed back with two goals in a space of two minutes to draw level in the 60th minute.

But a penalty stroke three minutes later put paid to Malaysia's fightback and burst their three match unbeaten streak. The Pakistanis as expected used their speed during the counter attacks to good effect and they also had better control of the play.

The Malaysians still have a chance to make the finals although they fell to third place in the table. They take on India and will play the Koreans in their last preliminary round match. The Pakistanis are in second spot while the Koreans who defeated India top the table.

Pakistan’s first goal came in the fifth minute when they earned their first penalty corner. Instead of the normal hit this time Imran Yousuf flicked the ball high past Nasihin. In the 13th minute the Pakistanis forays on the right paid off. This time Anis relayed a pass to Kamran Ashraf who on entering the D unleashed a shot at goal. The ball deflected off a Malaysian defenders stick and sailed to the top of the net giving Nasihin no chance at all.

With the 2-0 scoreline the Pakistanis were glad to hold back and used counter attacks to pressure the Malaysians. The second half exchanges was the same but the Malaysians were more in control and were tidier at back. They attacked more and the break came in the 58th minute when a counter attack allowed Chua Boon Huat to slam home from close range with the entire Pakistan defence beaten.

Two minutes later the Malaysians drew level. Earning their fifth penalty corner Kuhan sent a low flick that had Ahmed well beaten and a draw loomed as a possiblity. But Pakistan’s Imran Yousaf didn’t make any mistake with the stroke and ended Malaysia’s winning streak. 


South Korea beat India 2-1
By Sundeep Misra
Monday, Feb 21 2000 Kuala Lumpur

The misses continued for India as they dominated, yet again, but lost to Asia Cup Champions Korea 1-2 in the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament at the Bukit Jalil Stadium. With this defeat, India are certainly out of reckoning for a place in the Azlan Shah Cup final. It’s remarkable but the Asian Games Champions, India, are probably the only team in the world lose a match after having three penalty corners and nine open chances in the opposition circle. Dhanraj Pillay was the main culprit as he had four open chances with only the Korean goalkeeper in front but everytime, he missed. Either he shot straight at the goalkeeper or shot out. To Korea’s credit, it must be said that their goalkeeper Lim Jong Chun kept the Indians at bay.

Korean coach Sang Ryul was a relieved man. “I think we played well but we are lucky to get away with a win. The Indians did everything but score. It’s good that they didn’t score.” When asked why the Koreans played defensively, Sang said,”If we had played an open game, we could have scored three-four goals but the Indians would have scored six-seven goals. We didn’t give them the chance and defended. My defenders did a good job and we won.”

Indian team manager Gurbux Singh was upset with the defeat and also with the umpiring. “I think the tournament officials should not try out umpires here. They make all kinds of mistakes and the teams have to suffer. The first Korean goal hit a Korean’s foot and went into goal. It came against the run of play. Let the organisers see the video and if I am wrong then I am willing to apologise. But I think it’s time that hockey too had neutral umpires.”

India didn’t start with Mukesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Gill but they still dominated. The Indians controlled the game and Mohammed Riaz after the long time had a good game. He kept the balls going for the forwards and one those balls set up sixth minute move. Riaz passed to Baljit Saini who have it to Pillay. The former Indian captain dodged past two defenders and gave it to Deeak Thakur whose reverse shot just missed the Korean post.

The Indians controlled the game entirely and earned their first penalty corner in the 18th minute but Dhillon’s flick rebounded off the Korean goalkeeper. Pillay pounced on the rebound but even his shot was saved by the goalkeeper.

In the 20th minute, Mukesh came in for Senthil and the pace increased for India. Dhillon played a good game controlling the ball in the midfield and sending some breathtaking passes upfront. One of those passes found Pillay but the forward again bungled with the Korean goalkeeper to beat.

Korea scored in the 25th minute off a counter-attack which led to a penalty corner. Seung Hwan’s flick went in off Jong Ha’s foot but the umpire blew for goal. The Indians protested but the umpire waved them away.

Two minutes later, India earned their second penalty corner but Dhillon’s flick went out after hitting a Korean stick. Pillay had another golden opportunity in the 31st minute when he was face to face with the Korean goalkeeper but in his haste to put the ball away, he fell on it. At the break, Korea led 1-0.

After the break, Korea tried to force the pace but the Indians after surrendering the advantage for around five minutes wrested it back as they controlled the play. A couple of chances in the Korean circle were wasted as Indian forwards bungled time and again. Korea’s second goal also came against the run of play. In the 42nd minute, a Korean move led to a penalty corner. And Yeo Woon Kon scored with a superb flick. It was here that for around five minutes that the Indian spirits flagged. They started going back as the Koreans pressed forward. But Dhillon and Riaz wrested the initiative back. In the 51st minute, Pillay went into the Korean circle, thanks to a pass from Dhillon but when faced with the goalkeeper shot onto the pads.

Two minutes later, India earned their third penalty corner and this time the flick worked for Dhillon the ball flew low and fast to cut Korea’s lead. India had finally scored. But Korea led 2-1. In the dying minutes, it was a mad rush. Korea defending and the Indians going all out. But the minutes ticked by as the Koreans played out the Indian forwards and won the match to almost surely cement a place in the final. Korea with three victories and a draw have ten points while India are still on three with three defeats and one victory. 


Germany beat Canada 3-2
By Sundeep Misra
Sunday, Feb 20 2000 Kuala Lumpur

European Champions Germany needed to sweat it out against Pan-American Champions Canada before squeezing through 3-2 in the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament at the Bukit Jalil stadium. Oliver Domke was Germany’s hero with two stunning goals. Germany now have six points from two matches. The European Champions have lost to Malaysia and Korea. Canada have one point from their draw with New Zealand.

Germany were the first to draw blood when captain Christoph Bechmann converted a penalty stroke in the 8th minute. It was the first stroke of the tournament.

The Canadians pressed hard with Peter Milkovich and Ken Perreira giving some good through balls to the forwards. The hard work showed results in the 18th minute when Bindi Kullar fired in the equaliser. The rest of the first half was quite patchy with the both the teams trying to control the game and the pace. At the break, both the teams were tied 1-1.

Canada seemed to eager to press forward in the second half but when presented with a open chance Andrew Griffiths was found wanting. His shot just going past the post.

Germany needed Oliver Domke’s delicate skills to outwit the Canadians who were threatening the German goal. A through ball found Bechmann who after cutting into the Canadian half passed to Domke in the circle. Finding Mike in front, Domke went the wrong way but used his trademark reverse hit to good effect to beat the Canadian goalkeeper Mike. Germany now had the lead 2-1.

In the 43rd minute, a minute after Domke had scored, Bechmann was in the clear but this time Mike was ready as he padded away the shot.

Ken Perreira and Milkovich still didn’t give up. They kept pressing from the midfield and in the 51st minute, one of their passes found Bindi Kullar in the circle who shot in to tie the scores again at 2-2. A minute later, Canada would have gone up but for Andrew Griffiths who missed a sitter with only the German goalkeeper in front.

The miss proved crucial as Germany struck through Oliver Domke yet again. Domke after latching onto the ball beautifully dribbled through and after drawing out Mike pushed the ball in for Germany to lead 3-2.

Canada tried to get back and had a chance of a penalty corner but they missed the shot. 


Pakistan beat New Zealand 3-1
By Sundeep Misra
Sunday, Feb 20 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Reigning Champions Pakistan kept themselves in contention for a place in the final beating New Zealand 3-1 at the Bukit Jalil Stadium. After Umesh Parag stunned the Pakistani’s with a 12th minute goal, the reigning champions fought back to score through Ali Raza, Atif Bashir and Imran Yousaf.

Pakistan now with two victories and a draw have seven points while New Zealand have only point. New Zealand have played four matches with three defeats and one drawn game against Canada. New Zealand started strongly keeping the Pakistan defence busy with a couple of forays into the Pakistani circle. The first goal came off a mispass in the Pakistan half and Umesh Parag had the ball. Parag sent the ball for Creg Russ who on the Pakistan circle gave the ball back to him. Parag’s first timer sent the ball past Pakistan goalkeeper Ahmed Alam. The stunned Pakistani’s started controlling the ball and slowed the pace of the game. For almost ten minutes, Pakistan played with New Zealand till one move in the New Zealand circle earned them a penalty corner. Ali Raza’s shot gave no chance to New Zealand goalkeeper Simon Towns. Six minutes later, in the 29th minute, Atif Bashir dribbled past two Pakistan defenders, after having being a through ball by Muhammad Sarwar, and scored with a rising shot. Pakistan scored their third goal, off a penalty corner when Imran Yousaf slammed in to beat Simon Towns. Pakistan now play Malaysia, Canada and Germany in their next three matches. On Monday, tomorrow, they will be up against hosts Malaysia who are leading the tables with three wins. 


S Korea beat Germany 3-0
By Sundeep Misra
Saturday, Feb 19 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Asia Cup Champions South Korea shocked European Champions Germany into submission with a convincing 3-0 margin. All the Korean goals came off field efforts. Korea scored in the 13th minute when Song-Seong Tae hammared in the first goal past the German goalkeeper who was caught napping with the ferocity of the shot.

The second goal came off Kang Kyong-Won's stick who scored in the 25th minute. At the break, Korea led 2-0. Seong Tae was again in the thick of action when he scored Korea's third goal in the 50th minute and take the match beyond Germany. Korea now have seven points while Germany have three points, the same as India. 


India beat Canada 3-2
By Sundeep Misra
Saturday, Feb 19 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Led by two brilliant goals by Dhanraj Pillay, Asian Games Champions India finally pulled off a win beating Pan-American Champions Canada 3-2 to keep alive their hopes of entering the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament. India, who had suffered two defeats at the hands of Germany and Pakistan needed to win against Canada to keep their morale high. India went on the backfoot immediately as Canada scored in the 6th minute when Rob Short beat RVS Prasad, who had been brought in for Jude Menezes. It was a rasping drive that beat the Indian goalkeeper. Prasad, didn’t even offer his pads as the shot whizzed into the Indian goal. India went on the offensive immediately as Dhanraj Pillay sped into the circle and latched onto a pass from Riaz. The former Indian captain, cut across and then fired in for a superb goal and India’s equaliser in the seventh minute.

Two consecutive efforts by Mohammed Riaz and Mukesh Kumar were superbly saved by the Canadian goalkeeper Mike Mahood. The Indian team, today, again collapsed in the midfield where Riaz was not his usual best and Baljit Singh Saini totally off colour. Saini, a reliable player has been surprisingly totally out of form. With two midfielders clearly out of touch, it was going to be difficult for the Indians to maintain their sway throughout the match. And that is what exactly happened. The Canadians wrested control of the midfield and pushed the Indians back on the defense. India, finally, took the lead off a classy move by Deepak Thakur who had been brought in for Mukesh Kumar. After Canada had wasted a penalty corner, Ramandeep snatched the ball in the Indian circle and sent a through to Deepak Thakur. Racing through the middle, Thakur dribbled past the Canadian defense and with a reverse shot beat Mike Mahood in goal for India’s second goal. At the break, India led 2-1.

Four minutes into the second half and India increased the lead to 3-1. Deepak Thakur sent a cross from the midfield to Dhanraj Pillay on the right flank who dribbled past three defenders, and with the goalkeeper in front, flicked the ball over the pads for a superb effort. Credit must be given to Canada that they still regrouped and came back against the Indians who seemed in full flow now. Rob Short and Ken Perreira gave the Indian defense many an anxious moment. Penalty corners followed but the Indians defender dourly. Once, after the push had been taken, Pillay snatched the ball before it was even stopped and launched a counter-attack. Canada’s pressure tactics finally paid off when in the 53rd minute when Rick Robertson scored off a penalty corner. Canada pressed on and the Indians fell to defending the goal in the last ten minutes.

Dilip Tirkey along with Ramandeep Singh, who had fallen back to a defenders position, kept the Canadians away. With five minutes to go, India earned their only penalty corner of the match, against eight by the Canadians. But Dilip Tirkey’s shot got deflected off a Canadian defenders stick.

Indian coach Bhaskaran was happy with the result. “I think the boys played hard and they deserved the win. Three points are three points. In the previous matches, we should have won but we lost. Today, we had only one penalty corner but we won.”

Canadian coach Shiaz praised the Indian performance. “Individually, it’s difficult to find players like the Indians. They played very well today. We also had our chances and I think we are on the right track for Sydney.” 


Malaysia beat New Zealand 4-2
By Sundeep Misra
Saturday, Feb 19 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Hosts Malaysia continued their fantastic form here at the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament thrashing New Zealand 4-1 at the Bukit Jalil stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia scored twice in the first half through Chairil Anwar while New Zealand cut the margin through an indirect penalty corner conversion by Ryan Archibald. At the break, Malaysia led 2-1.

They scored twice in the second half through Shaiful Azli and Suhaimi Ibrahim. New Zealand, with two minutes in the match pulled another one back scoring through Creg Russ’s field effort. Pumped up with two victories in the early matches against Canada and European Champions Germany, Malaysia went into the attack mode right from the second minute when Chairil Anwar smashed home a field goal to give Malaysia the lead.

Five minutes later, Chairil was again in the right position to score the hosts second goal. New Zealand desperately tried coming back into the attack but except for Umesh Parag, none of the other Kiwi forwards made any headway. Malaysia also had tightened up their defence as Maninderjit Singh and Kuhan played a good game of containment.

Midway, through the first half, the Kiwis got a couple of good balls through which led to a penalty corner in the 19th minute. A fantastic indirect effort saw Ryan Archibald deflect the ball into the Malaysian goal. The Kiwis had reduced the margin to 1-2. New Zealand faded away in the second half as the Malaysians controlled the game and didn’t give away too much space to the Kiwi midfielders. Malaysia has been revelation in the tournament as their game has grown tremendously. Control and absolute utilization of spaces has proven that even Asian teams can mix European and Asian styles of play and still be successful. In the dramatic run of Malaysia, there is a lesson for India which refuses to leave their staid style of play.

Malaysia increased their lead in the 43rd minute when Shaiful Azli flicked the ball home through a maze of NewZealand legs and sticks. In the 52nd minute, Malaysia put the match beyond New Zealand when Suhaimi Ibrahim scored a field goal to increase Malaysia’s lead to 4-1. But as Malaysia relaxed, New Zealand took advantage of gaps in the defence to squeeze through a field goal, scored by Creg Russ in the 68th minute. Malaysia now have nine points from three matches. While New Zealand have only one point after their drawn game against Canada. 


Pakistan beat India 2-1
By Sundeep Misra
Friday, Feb 18 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Reigning champions Pakistan took a major step towards retaining the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup when they beat Asian Games champions, India 2-1 here at the Bukit Jalil Stadium. In what was the largest turnout till now, Pakistan scored both their goals in the first half. Ali Raza giving the lead when he hammered in a penalty corner and then Kashif Javaid scoring off a reverse hit which beat Indian goalkeeper Jude Menezes all ends up. At the break, Pakistan led 2-0. India pulled one back, when midway in the second half, in the 52nd minute, Dhillon fired in a penalty corner flick. Pakistan now have four points while India with two defeats have none. In the first match Pakistan drew with Korea 1-1. While India lost to Germany 1-2. India started off well forcing three penalty corners in the first five minutes of the match.

A set piece from the second penalty corner saw Dhanraj evading the Pakistani custodian but his shot hit the upright and deprived India of an early lead. With India clearly lacking cohesion in the midfield, Pakistan started dominating and forced their first penalty corner in the 7th minute, from which they scored.

A hefty hit by defender Ali Raza, took a deflection off Dhanraj’s stick and flew over over the sprawled Jude Menezes. India still could have pulled back as they earned seven penalty corners in the first 20 minutes but all the shots went out or failed to stop cleanly.

For a world class team that has already qualified for the Olympics, this was nothing short of huge embarrassment. Mukesh had a sharp chance in the 21st minute but his goalbound flick was brilliantly saved by Pakistan goalkeeper Ahmed Alam. In the 28th minute, Pakistan scored their second again resulting off a break. Kashif was right in the circle and his reverse hit beat Jude Menezes. The Indian goalkeeper was just not in position. It’s been too many times now that Jude has not covered spaces where the defender has to go ahead and hustle the defender. At the break, Pakistan led 2-0. India, who were totally out depth in the midfeild tried to scramble back. But Dhanraj Pillay and Mukesh Kumar still had to go back to the Indian half and grab the ball. That showed the total failure of the Indian midfield in the first half.

Ten minutes into the second half, India started dominating the match, thanks to Dhillon and Mukesh who were carving up the Pakistan defense but were unable to pierce through. In the 45th minute, Tirkey’s shot off India’s 7th penalty corner was disallowed as the Indians argued with the umpire. In the 51st minute, Mukesh Kumar was hacked down as he began a dangerous move down the middle. Pakistan’s defender Irfan Yousaf was shown the yellow card.

Deepak Thakur could have got the equaliser but with only Ahmed Alam, the Pakistan goalkeeper in front, he totally missed the reverse hit. India, by now, were totally dominating but were unable to break through the Pakistan defence where today, Ahmed Alam was brilliant. With nine minutes left in the match, Mukesh Kumar had a clean look from the top of the circle but his shot whizzed past the post. India earned two more penalty corners in the last five minutes but both times India was pulled up for not stopping the ball cleanly.

Indian manager Gurbux Singh was distraught. “I don’t know what to say, especially when the team scores off only one penalty corner out of ten.” “I think we need to rectify this problem otherwise it was very depressing for the team.” Gurbux promised that the team will not let down their resolve but would fight to win the rest of the matches. Pakistan’s manager Islahuddin said that he was pleased with his teams performance. “They played to a plan and I am very happy for that.” Islahuddin, however, agreed that India lost the match in the midfield. “You had 10 penalty corners and you scored only once. That showed where the weakness was.” 

Canada play dull draw with NZ
By Sundeep Misra
Thursday, Feb 17 2000 Kuala Lumpur

In the last match of the second day, Pan-American Champions Canada drew 1-1 in a dreary and dull game with New Zealand. Canada opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Rob Short smashed in a field goal. The Canadians dominated after that but couldn’t convert the chances into goal. New Zealand had a few sharp but even their forwards faltered.

Seconds before the break, the Kiwis got the equaliser when Craig Reynolds shot in a penalty corner. The second half saw a dull match as both the teams tried to dominate the midfield. Canada and New Zealand, both of whom had lost their earlier matches, have a point each with this draw.

Pakistan hold Korea 1-1
By Sundeep Misra
Thursday, Feb 17 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Asia Cup Champions South Korea were held to a 1-1 draw by Pakistan in the 10th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup here at the Bukit Jalil Stadium. Korea were playing their second match after beating New Zealand 4-1 on the opening day of the tournament. For Pakistan it was their first match. Both teams, thus, spilt a point each. In the opening match of the day, hosts Malaysia upset European Champions Germany 2-1.

For the home fans who stayed back after watching the home side record a historic win, they were treated to an exciting game that had pace and plenty of goalmouth excitement.

Both Pakistan and Korea created equal chances with Korea having the edge in the midfield where they dominated most of the first half.

Korea took some time in settling down but the moment they had control of the midfield, they started raiding the Pakistan half with long passes. Korea’s first goal came in the 16th minute when Kim Seok was hacked down while going for a shot at goal. The resultant penalty corner was flicked in low by Woon Kon Yeo beating Pakistan goalkeeper Ahmed Alam. Pakistan also regrouped in the midfield with Sarwar taking on an attacking role. Suddenly, the Pakistan forwards led by Kamran and Atif Bashir were looking dangerous. Kamran Ashraf coming back into the team after a long layoff was a bit offcolour but looked dangerous in patches.

One the moves by Bashir led to Pakistan earning a penalty corner in the 33rd minute. Tariq Imran’s shot rebounded off the Korean goalkeeper as Atif Bashir who was lurking nearby latched onto shoot home for Pakistan’s equaliser.

The secondhalf saw the spills and skills. Both the teams went all out, opening up spaces to get the match-winner. But the finishing let them down. Korea now has four points from two matches while Pakistan has one point from one match. Pakistan now play India on Friday in what is billed as the match of the tournament.

Malaysia upset Germany 2-1
By Sundeep Misra
Thursday, Feb 17 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Hosts Malaysia created the first big upset of the 10th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup here at the Bukit Jalil Stadium when they beat European Champions Germany 2-1 in their second match of the tournament. In their first match, yesterday, Malaysia had beaten Pan-American Champions Canada 3-1. Germany, in their first match, had beaten Asian Games Champions India 2-1.

Malaysia’s hero against Germany proved to be S. Kuhan. Two penalty corner flicks, one in each half, had the Germans scrambling for the equalisers. They successfully got the first but Malaysia managed to hold on after the second to record their first win over Germany in any tournament.

Malaysia’s win over Germany proved the fact that the hosts who have been playing a very German total style of hockey have finally gained a grip over the game that has been taught to them by Germany’s coach Paul Lissek. Today, Lissek, was on the other side as he watched Malaysia beat his team.

Malaysian coach Stephen van Huizen said that it was team effort and the disciplin of the Malaysian team won them the match. "I think all the players must be complimented for the effort. We rarely see Malaysian teams displaying patience in their game. Today we did that and the players were able to capitalise on the fast break. The match started off with both sides settling down on the their midfield play. The Malaysians were far sharper in front and had two good chances to take the lead in seventh and 20th minutes. Suhaimi missed the first attempt while the second was missed by Chairil.

In the 31st minute the Malaysians earned their first penalty corner and nothing came of it. Two more followed andd the third in the 34th minute bore fruit.

Kuhan’s low flick beat the German goalkeeper Clemens Arnold. The Germans had their chance when Malaysia failed to clear from the top of the circle thus giving skipper Christoph Bechmann an opportunity to score and equalise. Just when it seemed that both the teams would split points, Malaysia earned a penalty corner in the 67th minute and this time again Kuhan’s flick hit the goalkeeper Arnold but then went over him and rolled into goal.

India dominate but lose 1-2
By Sundeep Misra
Wednesday, Feb 16 2000 Kuala Lumpur

European Champions Germany started their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup campaign in style beating Asian Games champions India 2-1 in the tournament opener at the Bukit Jalil Stadium.

Germany scored through Christian Wein (1st minute) and Christoph Bechmann (9th minute) while India pulled one back through Dhanraj Pillay in the 18th minute. All the three goals came in the first half off field goals. India and Germany have traditionally played close matches and this was no different. Only recently, in the four-nation tournament in Barcelona, Germany had beaten India 1-0.

Germany’s coach Paul Lissek said that his team was lucky to beat India today. “India dominated the entire second half and we were lucky that they couldn’t score of the 3-4 chances that they had,” said Germany’s super-coach Paul Lissek.

Indian team manager Gurbux Singh, said that Lissek was generous but he wasn’t too way off the mark also. “I think we were distinctly unlucky,” said Gurbux. “The first goal was crucial as it slowed the team down. A first minute goal is always difficult to get over with. And then the second goal in the ninth minute. We fought back well but I feel we should have atleast drawn the match.” Germany have come with their best side and it looked like dominating when Christain Wein moved into the circle and after cutting across Dilip Tirkey fired in for Germany'’ opening goal. A shell-shocked Indians tried to rally but eight minutes later Germany dribbled into the Indian circle and a loose ball found Christoph Bechmann whose first timer shot past a unprepared Jude Menezes. The Indian goalkeeper with defenders in front still came out and the charge left him with a gaping hole at the back which Bechmann to his joy shot in for Germany’s second goal.

The Indians rallied and to their credit it must be said that they started dominating the proceedings. The midfield,however, lacked thrust and only when Thirumalavalan was replaced with Sukhbir Singh Gill that the forwards found through balls to utilise. The Indians would have equalised in the third minute of the match when a superb move between Pillay and Mukesh saw the Hyderabad star’s shot hit the post and go out.

India, however, pulled one back in the 18th minute when Dhanraj Pillay dribbled past three defenders, drew out German goalkeeper Clemens Arnold, and flicked the ball brilliantly home. India were savage in their attacks after that but the finishing let the team down. At the break, Germany led 2-1. The Indians went all out after the break which had been stretched ten minutes longer because of a thunder shower. But when the team came out, they attacked with all guns blazing. Pillay, Mukesh, Dhillon and Thakur tore apart the German defence but full back Philip Crone today was brilliant as full back.

Germany realizing that India were looking for the equaliser put the entire team back and the going got difficult for the Indians who were in the German circle but couldn’t find a way out of the maze of German sticks and legs. Germany had a few chances of counter attacks and of these counters saw Dinesh Nayak get a yellow card. Nayak was pulled up for hacking Oliver Domke in the Indian circle. With four minutes to go, India earned their first penalty corner, also the first of the match but Dilip Tirkey’s shot was deflected out by Mohammed Riaz. A minute later, Germany earned their first penalty corner but Pillay blocked the shot.

The Indian manager said that their sights were set on Sydney so this result should not dissapoint the team. “I think we are still experimenting,” said Gurbux. “Of course, we would have been glad to win today but I wouldn’t get depressed because of one defeat. We have to prepare for Sydney unlike most teams that are getting ready for the Olympic qualifiers in Osaka.”

Gurbux Singh also said that the first two German goals were because of the defense. “Tirkey’s error had the goal in the first minute while Jude Menezes should not have charged out giving the Germans the space to score the second goal.”

Malaysia beat Canada 3-1
By Sundeep Misra
Wednesday, Feb 16 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Suhaimi Ibrahim provided the thrills with a superb hattrick as Malaysia thrashed Pan-American champions Canada 3-1 to begin the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup campaign on a winning note.

The win over the Canadians was the second for the Malaysians in a space of three days. On Monday in a friendly match they won 3-1 and that many thought was achieved against a team not at their best. Suhaimi led the fight from the front and it was because of his `get-the-goal' attitude that he managed to score a hattrick.

National coach Stephen van HUizen said that the defenders were saviours with their determined play. ""Goalkeeper Nasihin was in top form and he kept us in the game all the time. It was a good win although we are not happy with the performance. Still this showed that we are able to win if we take our chances right,'' he said. Zaini and Nor Azlan Bakar provide the support along the flanksWith Mirnawan out of the team the task of leading the attack fell on uhaimi Ibrahim and M. Kalisweran. Chairil Anwar played from the midfield with K. Keevan Raj in the center. He was flanked by Shaiful Azli and Chua Boon Huat The Malaysians were in full flow after that as the kept the Canadians pinned in attack. in the 29th miniute Suhaimi again conjured up a goal which had the hallmark of a classic. This time collecting a pass from Kalisweran the younster took the ball to the goalline on the left and lobbed it into goal past the rooted Mahood.

That set the tone for the match with the Canadians trying hard to catch up. They finally fouind the first goal in the 32nd minute off their sixth penalty corner when skipper Peter Milkovich flicked the ball in. Before that in their earlier five attempts it was the heroics of goalkeeper Nasihin which kept the Canadians at bay. He saved no less than five clear shots in the first half. The Malaysians also had two penalty corners in the first half but they could not execute it properly.

The second half the Malaysians lived dangerously for most part as they allowed the Canadians lots of room for them to move in the middle. The Canadians came at them in droves but the defenders managed to keep them at bay.

The Canadians had two penalty corners in the second half to Malaysia's one. All three failed to find the mark. Then in the 69th minute as the Malaysians were under pressure Suhaimi put the issue beyond doubt with a field goal. Canadian coach Shiaz Virjee had no excuse fore the defeat. ""You cannot expect to win matches in the international arena if you cannot translate you dominance into a win. We had better possession of the match but we could not score. This kind of performance is totally unacceptable,'' he said.

South Korea beat New Zealand 4-1
By Sundeep Misra
Wednesday, Feb 16 2000 Kuala Lumpur

Asia Cup champions South Korea began on a winning note beating New Zealand 4-1 in their opening match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup here at the Bukit Jalil stadium. New Zealand actually led in the first half 1-0. The Kiwis scored in the 3rd minute when Creg Russ shot in a field goal. At the break, New Zealand led 1-0.

Four minutes into the second half, Korea fought back with the equaliser when Woon Kon Yeu scored from a penalty corner. The lead for Korea came in the 53rd minute when Woon Kon again fired in a penalty corner (2-1). Korea increased the lead in the 60th minute when Song Seung Tae scored off a field goal.

With two minutes left in the match, Korea scored their fourth when Seong Tae Jung converted a field goal.





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