Monday, October 16, 2017

ASIA CUP: ROUND ROBIN FIXTURES

Oct 18: Malaysia v Pakistan (5pm), India v South Korea (7.30pm).
Oct 19: South Korea v Pakistan (5pm), Malaysia v India (7.30pm).
Oct 21: Malaysia v South Korea (5pm), India v Pakistan (7.30pm).

ASIA CUP: Korea check into round robin

SOUTH KOREA struggled for long periods, before beating a stubborn China 4-1 to become the last team to qualify for the Asia Cup round robin in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday.
  The other teams which will play in the medal round are Malaysia, India and Pakistan.
  Olympian Jang Jong-hyun saved the day with two goals in the 10th and 43rd minutes while Kim Seong-kyu (47th) and Yang Jihun (57th) scored the other two.
  The China goal was scored by Du Talake (38th). 
  
  RESULTS -- GROUP B: Malaysia 7 Oman 1, China 1 South Korea 4.

FINAL STANDINGS

GROUP A
            P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
INDIA       3  3  0  0  15 2  9
PAKISTAN    3  1  1  1  10 5  4
JAPAN       3  1  1  1  6  8  4
BANGLADESH  3  0  0  3  1  17 0

GROUP B
            P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
MALAYSIA    3  3  0  0  16 3  9
S KOREA     3  2  0  1  12 5  6
CHINA       3  1  0  2  4  12 3
OMAN        3  0  0  3  4  16 0

ASIA CUP: Malaysia 7 Oman 1

MALAYSIA toyed around with Oman but still won 7-1 to remain unbeaten in Group A of the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh Monday.
  It was Malaysia's 13th straight victory over Oman, and an improvement over the 6-1 drubbing in the World League Round Two at the same venue in March.
  With nine points after three matches, Malaysia topped Group A and will now challenge for a medal in the round robin matches. 
  Malaysia played to avoid injuries, while Oman played a robust game, but after Faizal Shaari scored in the 16th minute, the match became lopsided.
  Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin tucked in the second in the 18th minute, and Shahril Saabah made it 3-0 off a 20th minute penalty corner.
  The other goals were scored by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (23rd), Fazial (27th), Amirol Arshad (40th), Najmi Jazlan (42nd), 
  Oman got their consolation off Salmeen Al Nofali (25th).

ASIA CUP: Keep Calm and Play Hockey

COMMENT

THE Asia Cup has never been Malaysa's favourite hunting ground, as in nine previous editions, only one bronze medal was won in 2007 in Chennai, India.
  Malaysia made the semi-finals six times, but failed to advance to the final. The not so proud record has five fourth placings.
  The tournament brings together the best in Asia, and is a World Cup qualifier. South Korea is the most successful team with four gold medals, with the most recent in 2013 in Ipoh.
  The Koreans have used the Cup wisely to qualify for the World Cup 
four times, but are one of the Asian giants fighting with an aged team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India.
  India, Pakistan and Malaysia qualified via the World League, while China also has a good chance to play in the World Cup, but South Korea must win the gold medal in Dhaka to claim their spot.
  And Malaysia dealt them a big blow with a hard-fought 2-1 win, and now Korea must beat China on Monday to play in the Round Robbin.
  This Malaysian side has shown team and fighting spirit which has been missing for the last decade.
  The Koreans pushed hard, even played robust and some say dirty hockey to find the equaliser in the third quarter, but Malaysia stood their ground.
  Even in London in the World League Semifinals, Malaysia scored early and then defended with their lives to beat South Korea 1-0.
  There is something magical in the way this Malaysian team attacks and defends in numbers.
  After two matches, the team has made few mistakes, but still, the Koreans showed that Malaysia is not ready in one aspect.
  When pushed to the limit, the Malaysian players seem to fall back into their old mentality -- making school-boy mistakes in their own 25-yard even though they have the lead.
  This is dangerous, as India and Pakistan as well as South Korea are masters in making players from the other team lose their cool by playing robust and sometimes 'dirty' hockey.
  Dirty here means agitating players with little nudges, and nippy hits while dribbling past, which does not cause injury but anger to the opposite side.
  Malaysia were put to this test in the last minute by South Korea and even experienced Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, normally a very cool player, lost his mind and retaliated.
  With 26 seconds left on the clock and South Korea winning a free hit just outside the scoring circle, Tengku Ahmad was sent out with a yellow card for retaliating a shoulder bump.
  This is what Malaysia can expect in the Round Robin. Robust, sometimes 'dirty' play from the Asian masters.
  And it looks like Malaysia must beat India, Pakistan and South Korea in the Round Robin -- by keeping their cool when pushed and irritated to the limit.

ASIA CUP: Ponacha knows the score...

OMAN coach A.K. Ponacha, from India, knows that his men are in for a torrid 60 minutes in their last Group B match of the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh, today.
  Statistics are too damning for Oman to even dream of pulling off an upset. 
  Malaysia beat China 7-1, while Oman lost to China 2-1. 
  Malaysia beat South Korea 2-1, while Oman were hammered 7-2 by South Korea.
  "We know its going to be the toughest Group B match for us, but on the other hand, we have nothing to lose but much to gain by playing against higher ranked opponents," said Ponacha.
  The part-time Oman players are ranked 30th in the world, while a professional and full-time Malaysian squad is 12th.
  "Most of our players are working either with the Army or Police and we get together during weekends to train. And before the Asia Cup, they were preparing for the Indoor Asia Cup (in Qatar, April) so we trained whenever we could after the indoor," said Ponacha.
  Interestingly, in the Indoor Asia Cup, Malaysia beat Oman 7-5 in the fifth-sixth classification match even though we have only recently taken up the indoor game to prepare for the Sea Games.
  Oman will be beaten today, only the score is yet to be determined.