Germany win Azlan Shah

August 12, 2001

An amazing last minute goal by Christoph Eimer, off a penalty corner deflection, helped Germany beat Korea 3-2 and clinch it’s second Sultan Azlan Shah tournament title here at the Bukit Jalil stadium on Sunday.

With less than a minute to go, Germany earned it’s sixth penalty corner and instead of going for a direct flick sent the ball to the right corner where Eimer deflected the ball into the Korean goal. Most teams would take a direct hit but Germany kept their cool and came out winners in this tense but thrilling final.

Korea were the ones to take the attack to Germany taking the lead and then after the German equalizer again taking the lead just before the break.

However, it was German planning in the second half  and combined with their tenacity that gave them the title.

Earlier in the day, Australia beat back Pakistan 4-3 to take the bronze medal.

South Korea began superbly, pushing the German defence back with some amazing runs down the middle. The breaks were so fast that the Germans didn’t have any option but to pull back four men into defence and still Korea tore through.

The lead came in the 9th minute off a beautiful move when Seo Jong Ho ran through the circle and passed it to Seung Song Tae who flicked it as the goalkeeper looked helplessly.

The midfield still pushed as the Germans tried their best to start sending the balls to the flanks but the Koreans had prepared and were stopping them outside the circle, flicking the ball to their own medios and launching counter-attacks.

It would easily have been 2-0 in the 11th minute when Hwang Jong Hyun went in and shot towards goal but the ball hit the post and rebounded back. Hwang again picked up the ball and flicked it over the goalkeeper who had advanced but Clemens Arnold took a few steps back and gloved the ball away it was going in.

Germany had close chances with two penalty corners in the 17th and 25th minutes but the Korean goalkeeper stayed on the line and saved the flicks.

The Germans finally got the equalizer in the 30th minute when off a free hit Philip Crone shot into the circle and Tobias just stretched out his stick and deflected the ball into the goal.

The Koreans didn’t fall back into defence but kept up the pressure as they earned a penalty corner in the 31st minute. It was their first an it gave them the lead again. Kim Chul shot into the corner, just by the post where Kyung Seok Kim almost sat on the turf and deflected it with an angled stick into the goal.

At the break, Korea led 2-1.

Coming back after the break, Germany slowed the pace and slowly within ten minutes had control over the midfield as Korea slightly fell into defence.

The German equalizer came in the 53rd minute off their fourth penalty corner when Florian Kunz not successful earlier at hitting it flat, sent the ball flying to the left corner of the goal.

With the equalizer in the bag, they spread out on the flanks and had the Koreans on the run.

The game for almost ten minutes was confined to the midfield as the Germans tried to control the moves with the Koreans trying to get the pace back into the game.

Korea almost scored in the 61st minute when Hwang Jong Hyun’s penalty corner flick hit the upright.

Germany had the best chance in the 66th minute when Matthias Witthaus was in front of the goal but couldn’t trap the ball with the Korean goalkeeper out of position.

With everyone thinking that the match was headed for extra-time, Germany got the match-winner with a classy variation as Eimer became the star netting the goal and giving Germany their second Azlan Shah title.


India beat England 2-0, finish fifth.
August 12, 2001

A second string Indian side did well to beat England 2-0 and finish fifth in the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament here at the Bukit Jalil stadium on Sunday.

This was India’s second win against England in the tournament. In the league stage, they beat England 2-1.

Playing early at 8.05 am in the morning, India dominated the midfield for most of the match except for a 15-minute period in the second half when England pushed hard to find the goals.

Dilip Tirkey and Sukhbir Singh Gill were the ones who had a good match for India while goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan also put in one of his better displays keeping out four penalty corners out of a total of seven that England had in the match.

In the first 15 minutes India had a couple of chances but they were a little hardpressed with only three upfront.

But in the 21st minute, Mukesh went in with Tejbir Singh and after a bout of passing in the circle, Tejbir shot from the right of the circle beating Simon Mason with an angled shot to give India the lead.

With five minutes left in the first half, India earned their first penalty corner and Dilip Tirkey’s direct shot beat Mason in goal.

At the break, India led 2-0.

England were supposed to come out better plans in the second half but they were still unable to beat a packed Indian midfield. It was only after 10 minutes in the 2nd half that England decided to use the flanks and there they stretched the Indian defence to earn five penalty corners.

But Devesh Chauhan was in form as he time and again came out to deflect the flicks and direct shots off his pads.

India came close to scoring in the 65th minute but Jugraj Singh’s penalty corner flick got deflected off Mason’s pads and just went over the upright.

With almost nine players out of this team playing the junior World Cup in October, it is an achievement to finish fifth in what could be said was a senior field in this tournament. 


Korea beat India, enter Azlan final
August 10, 2001

South Korea beat India 3-0 to enter the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament here at the Bukit Jalil stadium on Friday. Korea scored through Seok Kyo Shin in the first half and then twice in the second half through Seung Tae Song and Woon Kon Yeo. With this victory, Korea have entered the Azlan Shah final for the fourth time, winning once in 1996 and being runner-up twice in 1999 and 2000.

Korea now face Germany who earlier in the day beat England 2-1 in their last league match.Germany have also entered the final thrice, winning once in 1987 and finishing runners-up in 1995 and 1998.

Even though India tried to slow the pace of the game, they couldn't hold the speedy Koreans who fired three goals with the first only coming off a penalty corners. Korea earned five penalty corners with India earning the same but the Indians were just not effective with their stopping. It's not that India didn't have a chance in the game. They had atleast three field openings in the both the halves but just couldn't control their shots.

India, in fact, should have played at their normal pace because in trying to hold the Koreans, they didn't give full rein to their own talents and for some time in the second half, even kept off Deepak Thakur which was a little surprising. Korea were kept away from taking the lead but in the 31st minute finally found the net with a penalty corner shot off Seok Kyo Shin whose hit deflected off goalkeeper devesh chauhan's pads and into goal.

At the break, Korea led 1-0.

Just as one thought that India wouldplay with five forwards upfront, they again started with three giving the Koreans respite in the defence and packing the midfield. That too didn't work. Bt whenever India played with pace and speed they were able to unsettle the Koreans.

Two minutes after the break, Korea increased the margin when Song Seung Tae shot straigh at Devesh in goal but the ball rebounded and he again picked it up to whack the ball in with a reverse shot for 2-0.

India had their chances as they earned the penalty corners but the stopping was awfull. Korea increased the lead to 3-0 in the 54th minute with a superb field goal. Woon Kon Yeon stepped past a couple of defenders and just on top of the circle before the Indian defenders could react shot straight into the netting. Indian goalkeeer devesh chauhan couldn't even react to the superb shot.

Three goals down, india had a few chances but they were squandered as first Daljit Dhillon and then Deepak Thakur shot carelessly. India earned their fifth penalty corner, 26 seconds to go for the final whistle, but again couldn't stop the ball cleanly.

India, thus finish their league engagements with one win, one draw and four defeats. They will now fight for fifth/sixth position. Their likely opponents will be England only if Malaysia don't upset Australia in the day's last game. India had beaten England 2-1 in the league match. Earlier, germany beat england 2-1. England took the lead in the 18th minute when Mark Pearn converted a field goal.

Germany fought back equalising three minutes before the break with a goal from Matthias Witthaus and then got the match-winner in the 46th minute when Oliver Domke scored a field goal. 


Germany thrash Pakistan 5-3
August 9, 2001

Germany entered the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament thrashing Pakistan 5-3 in a league match here at the Bukit Jalil stadium on Thursday.

Germany, now on 15 points after five straight wins, play their last match against England on Friday, the last day of the league matches.

All five German goals came in the first half with only Pakistan's third goal coming in the 40th minute of the second half.

Germany were just unstoppable as they took the lead in the 3rd minute through Oliver Domke.

Though Pakistan equalised in the 4th minute through Kashif Jawwad, they never looked as if they could stop this resurgent German side from dominating the match.

Germany, fifth at the Sydney Olympics, are on their way back to claim the top spot back in world hockey.

Germany went into the lead, 2-1, in the 9th minute through a perfectly excecuted penalty corner.

Germany's captain Florian Kunz made it 3-1 through a stroke in the 19th minute and two minutes later Germany led when Timo Wess converted a penalty corner.

Oliver Domke got the fifth when he cut in from the left, the Pakistan defence totally beaten, as he slotted the ball past Ahmed Alam.

It seemed as if the match was headed for a rout but Pakistan cut the scoreline getting a goal off a Sohail Abbas penalty corner.

The second half saw a relaxed German team holding ball possession but not going all out.

Pakistan did try and take advantage and got a third to make the score look a little respectable when Kashif Jawwad scored the third off a German defensive error in the circle.

Pakistan now would in all probablity would fight for third/fourth place with Australia who have a match with hosts Malaysia on Friday. 


Superb comeback by Pakistan, beat Malaysia 4-3
August 8, 2001

Down 1-3 with with only eight minutes left in the match, Pakistan scored three goals in four minutes, helped by an hat-trick by penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas, to beat hosts Malaysia 4-3 in a league match of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament here at the Bukit Jalil stadium on Wednesday.

It was a thriller and possibly the best match of the tournament after the classic India-Pakistan match, which also went Pakistan's way 4-3.

pakistan took the lead in the 7th minute, helped by a Sohail penalty corner.

But Malaysia, fought back superbly to snatch a eqjit Sualiser in the 23rd minute of a penalty corner goal by Maninderjit Singh.

At the break, both the teams were locked 1-1.

Two minutes after resumtion, Malaysia went 2-1 up when Kuhan converted a penalty corner.

In the 50th minute, attacking from the flanks, Malaysia scored a spectacular field goal off Gobinathan's stick to lead 3-1.

It almost seemed curtains for Pakistan but for penalty corners and Sohail's ability to convert them.

With just eight minutes left, Pakistan earned a penalty corner and Sohail's powerful flick flew into the top corner of the net to cut the scores at 2-3.

Two minutes later, Sohail was again scoring with a perfect penalty corner flick.

With the scores tied at 3-3, Malaysia should closed the defence but they took some time in realising te danger that the Pakistan counter-attack could pose.

With five minutes left on the clock, Atif Bashir started on a run that cut the entire Malaysian defence and a rising shot from just inside the circle beat Malaysian goalkeeper Roslan in goal.

Dramatic victory for Pakistan and Malaysia were left to pick up the pieces. 


India beat England 2-1, register 1st win
August  8, 2001

A defensive Indian side registered their first win in the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament beating England 2-1 here at the Bukit Jalil stadium on Wednesday.

It almost seemed that the Indians might have to settle for a draw when Malaysian umpire Mohd Faithal Hj Hassan gave a stroke to England in the 50th minute for a reverse tackle on top of the Indian circle. But the Indians fought back after the England equalizer and scored the match-winner in the 63rd minute off their second penalty corner.

Both the teams were tentative at the start of the match and for almost the first ten minutes played defensive, depressing hockey. Man-to-man, they tackled in the middle and were reluctant to go for the breaks.

In the fifth minute, India had a chance off their first penalty corner. Dilip Tirkey’s direct hit was taken on the pads by the English goalkeeper Jimi Lewis.

In the 12th minute,India took the lead when Sukhbir Singh Gill dribbled upfield and gave the ball to Deepak Thakur who passed it onto Baljit Singh Chandi. The Indian midfielder, Chandi, cut past an English defender and shot towards goal where Daljit Dhillon running into the circle deflected the shot past the Jimi Lewis in goal.

India should have attacked through Gill and Bimal Lakra but they decided to play a defensive giving England the chance to come up with some fine moves off Mark Pearn, Johnson and Bill Waugh.

But the Indian defence, today, played some brilliant hockey under Dilip Tirkey, Bikramjit Singh and Jugraj Singh in keeping away the English forwards.

At the break, India led 1-0.

After resumption, India brought in Sabu Varkey and he again had a bad time in the field as the old `Varkey’ magic was missing. Keeping three forwards in Deepak Thakur, Daljit Singh and Mukesh Kumar, upfront, India were giving space away to the English and they utilized that in the 50th minute when they flowed in for a attack and were reverse tackled on top of the Indian circle. To the shock of the Indian players, Malaysian umpire Mohd Faithal Hj Hassan blew for a stroke. Even the English hoping for a free hit or a penalty corner looked a little surprised. The entire Indian team protested but the umpire stood firm. Danny Hall got the equalizer with a perfect stroke to the right corner of Devesh Chauhan.

It almost seemed that it would be a repeat of what happened against Pakistan and Australia: last minute match-winners against India. England were attacking and they almost close twice with Devesh once rushing out to tackle.

With just seven minutes left, India had a breakaway move that gave them their second penalty corner in the match. Dilip Tirkey’s direct hit came off the pads and Deepak Thakur got hold and tapped it towards goal but it hit the post the came back to Deepak who on the second try pushed it past the Jimi Kewis in the England goal.

India didn’t repeat the mistakes they made against Pakistan and Australia, keeping the ball away from the English forwards and going for the long balls, stretching the game out.

With this win, India climb to fifth spot in the team standings. They now have a match left with Korea on Friday before the final classifications are known. 


Australia beat India with 30 seconds left
August 7, 2001

With just 30 seconds remaining on the clock, Australia pulled out a match-winner with a perfectly executed Troy Elder penalty corner to send India crashing to their third straight defeat 3-2 in a league match of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament here at the Bukit Jalil stadium on Wednesday.

At the break, both the teams were locked 1-1.

India today tried to hold Australia and weresuccessfull to an extent. In terms of ball possession and chances in the aussie circle, Indians were a better side but they couldn’t kill of the moves and hold onto a 2-2 scoreline gifting the match away to Australia in the last five seconds.

Both the teams started slowly with India trying to hold onto the ball a little longer to kill Australia’s pace. They were successful to an extent but Australia were strong on the counter-attack.

India began strongly with Deepak Thakur breaking into the aussie circle but before he could take a shot, the aussie defence cleared the ball away.

Australia, taking advantage of defensive errors in the Indian circle, earned two penalty corners in the 9th and 12th minutes but today, for almost the entire half, Australia penalty conversion was very poor with the Indians clearing away most of the shots.

Even after 15 minutes in the first half gone, India were slow, trying to curb the aussie speed but in that also were killing to an extent their chances of entering the aussie circle to set up more moves.

However, it was India who scored first in the 13th minute when Jugraj off india’s 1st penalty corner faked a hit and gave the ball to Deepak thakur who swept it into goal.

Five minutes later, Australia got another Indian defensive error to create a move and this time they scored the equalizer when Jamie dwyer picked up his own shot off a rebound off chauhan’s pads and tapped in.

In the first half, Australia had five penalty corners while India earned two.

At the break, India and Australia wee locked 1-1.

Australia were straightway into the attacking mode as they earned their sixth penalty corner in the 37th minute and this time matthew smith didn’t make a mistake.

With Australia leading 2-1, India went out looking for the equalizer, and increased the pace of the game. But too many chances went abegging in the aussie circle as mukesh and daljit faltered with the aussie goalkeeper out of position.

In the 56th minute, India had their third penalty corner but jugraj’s flick hit livermore’s stick and went out.

As minutes ticked away and India wasted atleast three more sharp chances in the aussie circle, it seemed that the match would end with a 2-1 scoreline.

But India got a breakaway move in the 64th minute as the ball went to daljit on the rigt flank who gave it to mukesh who passed it to an overlapping Deepak thakur. The Indian forwards tap beat the advancing aussie goalkeeper Hickman and rolled into goal.

With the scores equalized at 2-2, it was whether India would hold out against the aussies.

Australia started attacking looking for the equalizer and the mistake that India did was to hold onto the ball in their own half instead of keeping a forward upfront and clearing balls to him.

In the 68th minute, Australia earned their 6th penalty corner which was saved by devesh chauhan.

With 30 seconds on the clock, ss gill had the ball on a free hit and instead of sending a parallel ball to a better placed Indian player, he hit it flat towards the midfield where it was picked up by an aussie player and hit straight back into the Indian circle. Off an infringement with just five seconds on the clock, Australia earned their 7th penalty corner and this time troy elder was on target with the match-winner, 3-2.

India have lost their third straight match and are still at the bottom of the table. They now have two more matches, against England and korea remaining. Only another win will lift them out of the seventh position to try and fight for 5/6th spot. 


Pakistan beat India 4-3, England 1 Australia 1, SKorea 4 Malaysia 1
August 5, 2001

Pakistan beat India 4-3 to win a thrilling contest that could easily classify as one of the best matches played between both the arch-rivals here at the Bukit Jalil stadium on Sunday. The match-winner came off Sohail Abbas’s stick as his penalty corner flick went like a bullet past the Indian goakeeper Devesh Chauhan.

At the break, Pakistan and India were drawn 2-2.

India today came good with their fowardline as Mukesh Kumar who had a brilliant game, Sabu varkey, Deepak Thakur and Daljit Singh all posed huge problems for the Pakistan defence.

Pakistan too had a great run with their forwards but if India had plugged the runs of Mohammad nadeem on the right flank, they could have avoided those pnalty corners that went Pakistan’s way in the last 10 minutes and yielded the match-winner.

However, with both the teams locked at 3-3, it was only Sohail who could have won it for Pakistan. And he did it with a brilliant flick.

Both the teams started positively attacking each other and testing the defences.

India had a look at the Pakistan goal in the 12th minute with a shot that went in but was disallowed as Tejbir before striking had caused an obstruction.

Pakistan who were threatening with Mohammed Nadeem and kashif Jawwad broke the deadlock in the 18th minute when Nadeem with a brilliant reverse shot beat Chauhan who wasn’t covering the goal for an angular strike.

Both Kashif and Nadeem with their runs into the Indian circle had the defence on tenterhooks. For India, Dilip Tirkey and Bikramjit Singh had a great game.

India, meanwhile were building in the half-line where Bimal Lakra and SS Gill also were at their best.

Once Tejbir went in but his pace was too much for Sabu andMukesh who failed to follow him through into the circle.

Pakisan got their second goal on the counter-attack but it was a defense lapse that led to Muhammad Shabbir scoring. Shabbir had the ball in the circle off Jawwad’s pass but his harmless tap went between Chauhan’s pads. It was a stupid goal to let in. Pakistan in the 27th minute led 2-0.

Desperate to get going in the forward-line, India threw in five players upfront.

It paid off in the 28th minute when India earned their first PC. Dilip Tirkey’s shot came off Ahmed Alam’s pads and Daljit lurking in the circle shot it in. (1-2)

In the 32nd minute, India again went in off a good move from Bimal Lakra in the midfield. Lakra went past three and gave the ball to Deepak Thakur who after beating a defender took a brilliant reverse shot that went over a diving Ahmed Alam.

At the break, both the teams were locked 2-2.

Pakistan took the lead a minute after resumption. Again there was no one trying to hold Nadeem. The Pakistan right-out had the ball and his shot at goal was deflected in by Kashaif Jawwad as Pakistan led 3-2.

Both the teams tried to slow the pace trying to get the midfield moving again. Pakistan were defending wit six at the back and looking at counter-attacks.

India finally had their chance in the 53rd minute when Mukesh was hacked in the circle and India earned their third penalty corner. Jugraj Singh took the penalty corner and his direct shot beat Alam in goal completely.

Both the teams tied at 3-3 were going all out to get the match-winner as there was enough time left to create moves in the midfield.

In the 58th minute, Pakistan earned their first of two penalty corners which would decide the match.

Off the second in the 60th minute, Sohail Abbas with a brilliant flick gave the lead to Pakistan yet again as they led 4-3.

India had a great chance in the 64th minute when Tirkey’s shot rebounded off Alam’s pads and tejbir picked up the rebound to shoot towards goal. As the crowds screamed thinking that the ball was going in, Mohammed Usman came out of nowhere to dive and end the ball over the line. It was a great save. India lost the opportunity to equalize and Pakistan won the match with it.

Pakistan now have four points from three matches. They lost to Australia, drew with Korea and beat India.

India are still with one point after drawing with Malaysia, and losing to Germany and Pakistan.

After an initial struggle, Sydney Olympic silver medallists South Korea powered their way through to a 4-1 victory over hosts Malaysia in a league match of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament here at the Bukit Jalil stadium on Sunday.

Held goalless for the first 25 minutes, Korea scored twice in the first half and then twice in the second half to record their second victory in three matches. Earlier, they had beaten England 2-0 and drawn with Pakistan 2-2.

Korea broke the deadlock against a fighting Malaysian side in the 25th minute when Yeo Woon Kon scored off a penalty corner, the flick going high into the net.

A minute later, Korea were again on target when Hwang Jong Hyun broke through after a counter-attack to shoot home from the top of the circle.

At the break, Korea was leading 2-0

Malaysia who were fighting it out in the midfield and putting up an exceptional show got the opportunity to cut scores in the 47th minute which Mohammed Radzi used to full effect by scoring with a stinging shot.

But Korea were too good with their counter-attacks as they used the gaps left by the Malaysian defence.

In the 54th minute, Korea cut through the midfield and with a low powerful shot to the left of the goalkeeper, Kim Jung Chul scored to bring up Korea’s third goal.

Korea made the match safe, four minutes later, Kim Jung Chul getting his second and his teams fourth goal off a penalty corner.

Korea now lead the round-robin league with seven points after three games. Malaysia have two points after three matches with a defeat and two draws.

In the other match, England held Sydney Olympic bronze medallists Australia to a 1-1 draw. 


Germany beat India 2-0
August 3, 2001

Despite losing 0-2, India put up a creditable display against a top class German team in their second match at the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament at the Bukit Jalil stadium on Friday.

Germany scored once in each half, the goals coming through their star forward Oliver Domke and then off a penalty corner in the second half, Timo Wess smashing the ball into the Indian goal.

India did have it’s chances but couldn’t crack open the German defence where Florian Kunz and Dr Michael Green were brilliant.

India were again handicapped in the forward line as Sabu Varkey who was supposed to have played in tandem with Mukesh Kumar again gave a miserable display with the Indian coach pulling him off early in the first half.

Deepak Thakur also was in perfect position thrice but ran the wrong way when Mukesh was setting him up.

In the defence, it was Dilip Tirkey who put up a superlative show again.

Germany earned four penalty corners to India’s two and shows how the game was constantly played in the midfield.

Indian team manager A.P Singh said that the team was improving and that the boys playd well looking at the overall strength of the German team.

“Devesh Chauhan played well to keep some stiff shots away but we were a little disappointed with the forward line.”

Germany piled on the pressure early when in the third minute, Oliver Domke got away from Bikramjit Singh and with only goalkeeper Devesh in front, flicked the ball neatly over him for Germany to lead 1-0.

The Indians regrouped within 10minutes with Mukesh Kumar, Deepak Thakur, Sabu Varkey and Daljit Dhillon raiding the German half but the German defence kept them away.

Sabu had a few balls but couldn’t force the moves. Being away from the international scene had taken it’s toll.

Mukesh Kumar was the only one who impressed as he went away from the German defenders but Deepak Thakur couldn’t keep pace with him. Or turned the wrong way as Mukesh passed the parallel ball.

India had their first penalty corner in the 29th minute but couldn’t convert.

At the break, Germany led 1-0.

As the teams came back it was evident that Germany were now determined to slow the pace of the game, keeping in mind that they have a tough game against Australia on Saturday.

Keeping ball possession, they kept the Indian forwards away from making any moves also keeping out any possible penaltycorner chances for the Indians.

Germany scored in the 61st minute off their fourth penalty corner when Timo Wess smashed the ball off a opening high into the right hand corner off the net.

With ten seconds left in the match, India earned only their second penalty corner but Tirkey’s hard drive saw the ball inches past the right hand post.

Germany now have three points with India on one.

Germany play Australia tomorrow while India play arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday.

Earlier, in the day, Sydney Olympic silver medallists South Korea played a 2-2 draw against defending champions Pakistan. 


Shahbaz Ahmed still feels Pakistan will retain Azlan
August 3, 2001

Even after losing rather badly to Australia, former Pakistan great, Shahbaz Ahmed, now coach, feels that Pakistan may have lost to Australia 3-5 but they will get back into the tournament and snatch a place in the final. Pakistan are the defending champions. "The tournament has just begun. Losing one match doesn't mean that we lost the tournament,"said Shahbaz.

Pakistan have always been slow starters but as the tournament progresses have gathered momentum to earn a good finish.

In the match against Australia, Pakistan were rather slow on the counter-attacks, an area that they have been very good in.

Shahbaz, said after the match, that they missed plenty of chances and that's what did them in. Pakistan won the Azlan Shah in 2000 and 2001 are now looking to pick up a third title. The former captain also said that almost every team is off equal standard and that as the tournament progresses, a clearer picture will emerge.

"Pakistan should get a clearer picture after the match with Korea today," said Shahbaz. Shahbaz Ahmed is the only player in history to win two consecutive player-of -the-tournament awards in the 1990 World Cup (Lahore) and 1994 World Cup (Sydney) 


Hardfought draw for India against Malaysia
August 2, 2001

India opened their campaign in the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament with a hard fought 2-2 draw against hosts Malaysia at the Bukit Jalil Stadium on Thursday.

Malaysia took the lead twice but a fighting junior Indian side came back twice to equalize.

For India, Dilip Tirkey and Daljit Dhillon scored off penalty corners. While for Malaysia, the goals too came off penalty corners off the sticks of Mohd Madzli and Maninderjit Singh.

Earlier in the day, favourites for the title Australia beat the defending champions Pakistan 5-3 while Sydney Olympic silver medallists South Korea beat England 2-0

Malaysia controlled the match from the beginning. Within the first 11 minutes, they earned three penalty corners, scoring off the third after a superb bit of passing in the circle with Mohammed Madzli firing past Devesh Chauhan into goal.

The Indians were not controlling the midfield with only Bimal Lakra trying to regroup the players but with Mukesh Kumar and Sabu Varkey nowhere in the match, the Indians had to come back and try and defend and look for penalty corners whenever they entered the Malaysian circle. But even that luxury came after 15 minutes of the first half.

India had three penalty corners, consecutively, in the 15th, 17th and 30th minute but all the three were wasted.

Two shots went out and the third wasn’t stopped by SS Gill.

With just three minutes left, India earned their fourth penalty corner and Dilip Tirkey’s direct shot beat Roslan in the Malaysian goal. India had finally equalized.

Malaysia had a penalty corner in the last minute of the first half but a brilliant sliding tackle by Tirkey saved the situation.

The Indian forwards have been totally bottled up by the Malaysian defenders. But instead of waiting and traying to make a move, the Indians are unnecessarily trying to showcase skills and falling into the Malaysian trap.

In the second half, Bimal Lakra and Ignace Tirkey definitely tried to build some moves in the midfield but with the Indian forwards refusing to go for hard tackles saw moves being wasted.

Even Dilip Tirkey at the risk of leaving the defence open came up twice, his hard shots finding the stick of Deepak Thakur but instead of waiting for a player to come up and giving a parallel pass, Thakur dribbled on his own finally giving the ball away as he was surrounded by three defenders.

Slowly Malaysia came back into the game and took control forcng three penalty corners in the 46th, 55th and 57th minute. They finally took the lead in the 57th minute when Maninderjit Singh’s shot went into the Indian goal off the goalkeepers pads.

With Malaysia leading 2-1 and the Indian forwards looking tired, it seemed that the hosts would hang onto the lead.

But in the 63rd minute, India found the equalizer off their fifth penalty corner. Dilip Tirkey’s shot rebounded off the goalkeepers pads and Daljit Singh Dhillon was right on target with his flick.

India had another attempt in the 66th minute but Mukesh Kumar’s shot was wide off the mark.

Malaysia threatened to steal the match-winner in the last minute with two penalty corners but the Indians defended well to earn a hard fought draw and a point.

They now play germany on Friday. 

India arrive for Azlan experiment
August 2, 2001

The first question that Indian coach for the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament, Baldev Singh, fielded at arrival was on the absence of  India's star forward Dhanraj Pillay and the reason for India sending a second side to one of the most prestigious hockey tournaments in the world.

Tired after a journey that took them to Bangkok, Singapore and then Kuala Lumpur, Baldev Singh, said,"Dhanraj refused to attend the Azlan Shah training camp, he's having some problems with the Indian Hockey Federation." That was all that the Malaysian media could get off Baldev Singh, the Indian coach as he ducked into the Hotel Concorde Ball Room to join the Indian team for lunch before a short rest and then for training to the Bukit Jalil Stadium.

After a none-to-impressive fifth placing at the World Cup qualifiers in Edinburgh, what does one expect of the Indian team which at best could be called a junior team expect for four players: Mukesh Kumar, Sabu Varkey, Bimal Lakra, Dilip Tirkey and Devesh Chauhan.

So in a seven-team field where does one expect India to finish looking at the class and opposition that they are upto.

Baldev Singh refuses to answer and says that this is part of the build-up for the 2002 World Cup. But doesn't want to experiment with the media beyond that.

Realistically, India are fighting for a 5/6th placing. To see that this junior side can stand upto six matches against this class of opposition is a little too much to ask of the boys.

Former German coach and now Malaysia's hockey supremo, Paul Lissek says that he is wary of the Indian team. Malaysia take on India in the third match of day one. But also says that the Malayians are well prepared to start on a winning note. "I have seen Mukesh and rate their deep defender Dilip Tirkey very highly but I have hardly know anything about the rest of the team. And also that their qualifying for the World Cup wasn't a very impressive showing."

For the Indians, playing against the Malaysians is not something new. But Indian coach Baldev Singh hasn't seen any of the sides in a long time. "We are prepared but if you think we are here to give you miracles, then that's a wrong asessment of why we are here. India has two teams and they are training and playing so that we find a bunch of players capable of performing well at the 2002 World Cup. All this is part of the campaign."

But Baldev doesn't rule out of the surprises. "Of course, some of the juniors are doing well and maybe they would just play some outstanding hockey here. This team has committment and that is what shines through."

In the three matches that kick off the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament, Pakistan take on Australia, South Korea play England and then hosts Malaysia take on India.

Pakistan already has put on two sesions of training and their coach Shahbaz Ahmed is confident that Pakistan will retain the title. Pakistan have won the Azlan Shah in 1999 and then 2000 and are the defending champions. With penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbass in their ranks, it wouldn't be too tough to fire in those corners but Pakistan would also do well to remember how the Korean totally kept away Sohain in the semifinal of the Sydney Olympics.

Australia, in so many way like India is on a comeback trail. They definitely won the bronze medal at Sydney, thrashing Pakistan 6-3 but are looking for players to field a World class side for the 2002 World Cup.

It sure is a curtain raiser to the 2002 World Cup in which all the seven team would be looking at each other to gauge the change that have happened since Sydney 2000. Only India is the one team that has played the World Cup qualifiers, the rest of the six have already qualified from Sydney itself. Malaysia qualify for the 2002 World Cup as hosts.

For India, the road to the World Cup begins tomorrow. Cedric said after finishing fifth at Edinburgh that it's time to build now. "We have seen the shortcomings, we have seen the failures. Now we need to eradicate them and form a squad that will go all the way in the World Cup."

Brave words but ones we hope the Indian team coach and his boys keep.  

The squad
Goalkeeper: Bharat Kumar Chettri, Devesh Chauhan.
Fullbacks: Bikramjeet Singh, Anurag Raghuvanshi, Dilip Tirkey, Jugraj Singh.
Halves: Sukbir Singh Gill, Bimal Lakra, M.K Prakash, Paramjeet Singh, Ignace Tirkey
Forwards: Mukesh Kumar (capt), Sabu Varkey, Deepak Thakur, Tejbir Singh, Parminder Singh, Baljit Singh Chandi and Daljit Singh Dhillon.



Australia: Jamie Dwyer, Adam Commens, Michael McCann, Troy Elder, Lachlan Dreher, Jeremy Hiskins, Ben Taylor, Matthew Smith, Gavin Davis, Daniel Sproule, Bevan George, Mark Hickman, Scott Webster, Aaron Hopkins, Matthew Wells, Brent Livermore, Dean Buttler, Eddie O’Brien

England: Simon Mason (GK), Jimi Lewis (GK), Jon Evennet, Bill Waugh, Tom Betrtram, Ben Barnes, Guy Fordham, Craig Parnmam, Mark Pearn, Mike Johnson, Manpreet Kochar, Danny Haydon, Danny Hall, Adrian Wilkinson, Robert Todd, Dave Mathews, Chris Graham, Jerome Goudie

Germany: Clemens Arnold (GK), Christopher Reitz (GK), Tobias Hentshel, Philip Crone, Eike Duckwitz, Jamilon Mulders, Bjorn Michel, Sascha Reinelt, Oliver Domke, Christoph Eimer, Timo Wess, Sebastian Beiderlack, Dr Micheal Green, Tibr Weissenborn, Florian Kunz, Christian Mayerhofer, Matthias Witthaus, Oliver Hentschel

India: Devesh Chauhan (GK), Bharat Kumar Chettri (GK), Bikramjeet Singh, Dilip Tirkey, Sukhbir Singh Gill, Bimal Lakra, M.K Prakash, Mukesh Kumar (Capt), Sabu Varkey, Deepak Thakur, Baljeet Singh Chandi, Tejbir Singh, Parminder Singh, Daljit Singh Dhillon, Ignace Tirkey, Paramjeet Singh, Jugraj Singh, Anurag Raghuvanshi

South Korea: Shin, Seok Kyo Kim, Chul Lee, Jung Seon Kim, Yong Bae Kang, Seong Jung Yeo, Woon Kon Kim, Jung Chul Jung, Seong Tae Seo Jong Ho Hwang, Jong Hyun Yoon, Seong Hoon Han, Hyung Bae Kim, Kyung Seok Kim, Yoon Yoo Moon Ki Yang, Soo Hyuk Song, Seung Tae

Malaysia: Roslan Jamaludin (GK), Maninderjit Singh, Chua Boon Huat, Gobinathan Krishnamurthy, Kuhan Sanmugannathan, Nor Azlan Haji Bakar, Chairil Anwar Abd Aziz, Jiwa Mohan, Mohd Madzli Ikmar Mohd Nor, Suhaimi Ibrahim, Mohd Rodhanizam Mat Radzi, Keevan Raj Kali Kavandan, Abdul Razak Saidin, Mohd Nasihin Nubli Ibrahim (GK), Shaiful Azli Abd Rahman, Shankar hanmugam

Pakistan: Ahmed Alam (GK), Muhammad Khalid, Sohail Abbas, Muhammad Shabbir, Tariq Imran, Muhammad Saqlain, Zeeshan Ashraf, Muhammad Qasim (GK), Waseem Ahmed, Muhammad Usman, Dilawar Hussain, Ali Ghaznafar, Muhammad Irfan, Muhammad Sarwar, Mudassar Ali Khan, Atif Bashir, Kashif Jawaid, Muhammad Nadeem





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