Australia left it until the dying seconds of the final to claim their seventh Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, with Trent Mitton hitting the backboard with just four seconds left on the clock.
The final started in ideal fashion for hosts Malaysia, playing in their fourth final and seeking their first win, when they scored in the fourth minute from a drag flick by penalty corner specialist Faizal Saari.
On the quarter hour mark Daniel Beale chased a through ball into the circle and was involved in a sickening collision with the Malaysian goalkeeper S. Kumar. Both players stayed down for several minutes before Beale was helped from the field; he did recover to play his part in Australia’s victory.
In the 28th minute Australia pulled level from a penalty corner of its own. Their conversion rate had been poor in the past three games but on this occasion Nick Budgeon made no mistake arrowing the ball between the postman and the post itself.
Five minutes later they hit the front with Craig Boyne becoming the last of the five debutants at this tournament to score. Beale smashed a through ball into the circle S. Kumar rushed out of his goal to intercept but failed to clear and Boyne was first to the loose ball and drilled it into the empty goal.
Malaysia came out searching for a quick equalizer after the half time break, Razie fired wide from a penalty corner and soon after were denied again after Simpson lost possession and Saari was body-checked.
Marhan burst through minutes later for Malaysia only to be denied by Chris Bausor. Wave after wave of attacks came from the hosts and Australia repelled them. That was until 14 minutes from time when Marhan squared across the circle and picked out Tengku, who equalized for Malaysia, sending the 15,000 strong crowd into rapture.
Five minutes later Australia thought they had scored when Hammond picked out a run from Gohdes and he deflected past Kumar, but the eagle-eyed umpire saw it come off the foot of Gohdes.
With five minutes left on the clock Whetton picked out Mitton in the circle but the advancing Kumar denied him. From the corner Malaysia deflected the ball onto its own goalpost.
Australia forced a penalty corner through Beale, but Budgeon pushed his drag flick wide. Extra time beckoned.
Then with only seconds remaining Hammond picked up the ball in centre field. He hit a crash ball into the circle, Mitton was on hand to deflect it past Kumar and with four seconds on the clock the siren sounded and Mitton was swamped by his team mates. Australia as the only unbeaten team in the tournament had left it late but were the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Champions for 2013.
An added bonus was Trent Mitton being named Player of the match.
The Team of the Tournament was named after the final with Kookaburras Matt Gohdes, Trent Mitton, Jacob Whetton and Glenn Simpson named in the Sultan Azlan Shah eleven.
Earlier in the day, Korea defeated New Zealand to claim third place, while India battled past Pakistan to finish fifth. More information about the final weekend of action from the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup can be found on http://www.azlanshahcup.com/
Australia 3 defeat Malaysia 2 (half time 2-1)
Australia goals: Nick Budgeon (28m PC), Craig Boyne (31m FG), Trent Mitton (70m FG)
Malaysia goals: Faizal Saari (4m PC), Tengku (53m FG)
Source material: Hockey Australia Media Release
Sultan Azlan Shah Cup - Full Results
|Saturday, 9 March 2013||09-03-2013 16:05||New Zealand||3 : 4||Pakistan|
|09-03-2013 18:05||Australia||4 : 3||India|
|09-03-2013 20:05||Malaysia||3 : 2||Korea|
|Sunday 10 March 2013||10-03-2013 16:05||Australia||6 : 0||Pakistan|
|10-03-2013 18:05||Korea||2 : 1||India|
|10-03-2013 20:05||Malaysia||2 : 1||New Zealand|
|Tuesday 12 March 2013||12-03-2013 16:05||Korea||0 : 3||New Zealand|
|12-03-2013 18:05||India||3 : 1||Pakistan|
|12-03-2013 20:05||Malaysia||1 : 1||Australia|
|Thursday 14 March 2013||14-03-2013 16:05||Australia||3 : 3||Korea|
|14-03-2013 18:05||New Zealand||2 : 0||India|
|14-03-2013 20:05||Malaysia||2 : 2||Pakistan|
|Saturday 16 March 2013||16-03-2013 16:05||Korea||2 : 2||Pakistan|
|16-03-2013 18:05||Australia||3 : 2||New Zealand|
|16-03-2013 20:05||Malaysia||2 : 2||India|
|Sunday, March 17, 2013||17-03-2013 15:35||India||4 : 2||Pakistan|
|17-03-2013 18:05||Korea||2 : 1||New Zealand|
|17-03-2013 20:35||Australia||3 : 2||Malaysia|
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