Malaysia recorded a historic 5-2 victory over India and enhanced its chances of making it to the Sunday’s final in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament on Wednesday. This victory laid India low after the unbeaten streak in five matches.
By S. Thyagarajan
Cashing on a penalty corner shot by Rahim Muhammad Amin close on half-time, the Malaysians struck a purple patch in the early part of second half striking two goals in a space of 10 minutes and enlarging the leeway midway through. The goals by Tajuddin, from a spectacular backhander and the blinding hit from the top of the circle by Muhammad Razie, were bewitching to behold.
The feeble attempts by India, which had seven penalty corners, were of no avail against the good work by goal-keeper Kumar Subramaniam.
India has a match remaining against Egypt on Saturday after a two day rest. A win is now mandatory to fight for a place in Sunday’s final.
Australia surrendered a 4-1 lead to share points with Pakistan 5-5 in a pulsating tie marked by twists and turns. In the end, Australia was lucky to survive thanks to a miss by Zubair Ahmed, just three seconds from the final whistle.
Everything looked honky dory for the Aussies who built up a comfortable 3-1 lead by half-time and enlarged the margin when Christopher Cirello converted a penalty corner.
But thereafter the Aussie defenders caved in incredibly against the persistent probing by the Pakistanis. Imran Muhammad who scored two penalty corner goals also netted the equalizer one minute before the hooter.
Australia has seven points with two matches remaining against Korea on Thursday and China on Saturday.
In the other match, China beat Egypt by five goals to one.
Australia 5 (Timothy Bates, Grant Schubert 2, Christopher Cirello 2) drew with Pakistan 5 (Rizwan Muhammad, Irfan Muhammad, Imran Muhammad 2, Umar Butta) HT 3-1.
China 5(Liu Yixien, Cui Yongin, Na Yubo, Sun Long, Luo Fangming) beat Egypt 1 (Hoosein Gobran) HT 3-1.
Malaysia 5 ( Rahim Mohammad Amin 2, Tajuddin, Razie Muhammad, Rizal Azreen Nasir) beat India 2 ( Danish Mujtaba, Ravinder Pal) HT 1-0.
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