MALAYSIA COME UP SHORT

Na­tional side rue missed chances against Bri­tain

New Straits Times - - Sport - JUGJET SINGH jug jet@nst.com.my

THE na­tional play­ers dis­played their best game to date in Ipoh but still went down 1-0 to Bri­tain in the Azlan Shah Cup yes­ter­day. Malaysia started more con­vinc­ingly than the pre­vi­ous two matches, as there was more com­mit­ment and de­sire in their game. But Bri­tain had the lion’s share in the first quar­ter, and ex­pe­ri­enced goal­keeper S. Kumar had to use ev­ery trick in his book to keep a clean record in the first quar­ter.

The only ex­cite­ment for the Malaysian fans was when Razie Rahim’s penalty cor­ner at­tempt in the 14th minute was padded away by goal­keeper Harry Gib­son.

Bri­tain de­fended and only re­lied on counter at­tacks in the sec­ond quar­ter and it worked as they won a penalty stroke in the 26th and Alan Forsyth sent Kumar the wrong way for the lead.

And Bri­tain held on to the slim lead go­ing into half-time, even though they were placed un­der tremen­dous pres­sure by a re­ju­ve­nated Malaysia.

Malaysia missed many sit­ters for the next 30 min­utes, and Bri­tain stole the three points on nine lives.

Na­tional coach Stephen van Huizen felt it was a drawn game, as the penalty stroke awarded to Bri­tain was du­bi­ous.

“For those who watches the re­plays (on TV) would know what I am talk­ing about, but then there was video re­fer­ral and they felt it was a stroke and that’s the end of it.

“How­ever, we could have done bet­ter in at­tack when we had the num­bers on counter, but failed. Over­all its a good show from my play­ers against a team which is in the same group with us in the World League (Semi-fi­nals) in Lon­don.”

Bri­tain coach Zak Jones counted his bless­ings: “We blew hot and cold while Malaysia re­ally pressed us hard but my play­ers could keep pace with them and now we only have ‘a few hours of rest’ be­fore play­ing Aus­tralia.”

World No 2 Aus­tralia edged closer to a 10th Azlan Shah ti­tle when they beat In­dia 3-1. In­dia took the lead, but Aus­tralia kept the pres­sure to win com­fort­ably and will play Bri­tain to­day where a win should see them play­ing in the fi­nal.

Aus­tralia coach Colin Batch said: “We started off slow but re­grouped in the sec­ond quar­ter and I think we had a good game over­all against In­dia.”

RE­SULTS: In­dia 1 Aus­tralia 3, New Zealand 3 Ja­pan 2, Malaysia 0 Bri­tain 1.

TO­DAY: Ja­pan v In­dia (4pm), Bri­tain v Aus­tralia (6pm), Malaysia v New Zealand (8.30pm).

PIC BY ABDULLAH YU­SOF

Faizal Shaari makes an at­tempt at goal against Bri­tain yes­ter­day.

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