Match #24 (Final) - Canada vs. Korea: 0-4 (half-time: 0-2)
Korea went undefeated in the Pahang Champions Challenge 1 completing their 2014 campaign with a 4-0 ace over a fearless Canadian contingency. With the win No. 7-ranked Korea have qualified for the 2016 Champions Trophy. Korea have participated in three previous editions of the tournament but they have never won it before. With Korea grabbing their first Champions Challenge 1 title and Canada finishing second, their best result was a 6th place finish in Quilmes, Argentina, in 2012, this tournament was a huge success for both teams.
Tonight’s final was a special game for Ben Martin who played his 50th cap for Canada and also for Mark Pearson making his 150th appearance in the national kit.
Korea’s Jang Jong Hyun tallied twice in the game both on set plays, a penalty corner and penalty stroke, to finish the tournament as scoring leader with eight goals.
Korea will join just five other qualifiers for the 2016 Champions Trophy, which will only feature six teams from the previous eight-team format.
Match #23 (Bronze) - Malaysia vs. Ireland: 4-2 (half-time: 2-1)
It is the first Champions Challenge medal in history for home team Malaysia, who entertained a passionate crowd with a 4-2 bronze-medal win over Ireland. Two late goals, one from each of Azlan Misron and Firhan Ashari, boosted the Speedy Tigers to victory.
Both teams had something to prove after Ireland’s high from their impressive quarter-final win over France was curbed by a dominating Korea in the semi-finals. Bouncing back the Green Machine created several promising opportunities but could only get on the board with goals from Paul Gleghorne and Chris Cargo. The pocket of goals was too little, too late as the home crowd seemed to be the 12th man Malaysia needed to finish the tournament with hardware.
Match #22 (5/6th) – New Zealand vs. France: 6-3 (half-time: 3-1)
It was a bitter sweet win for New Zealand, who downed France 6-3 in the fifth-place match up of the Pahang Champions Challenge 1. The No. 6-ranked Black Sticks, who entered the tournament as favourites, were ousted early in the quarter-finals by eventual bronze-medal winners Malaysia making the fifth-place finish a bit sour to taste. Despite this being their lowest finish, New Zealand finished off in flare, with Simon Child getting on the board to celebrate his 200th cap.
Three goals in each half lifted the Black Sticks to the win, while an energetic France squad relied on Tom and Martin Genestet to each score late in the game to keep the margin to three.
Match #22 (7/8th) – Poland vs. Japan: 2-3 (half-time: 1-2)
Japan defeated Poland 3-2 to avoid eighth place at the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. It was a familiar position for Poland who were also at the bottom in Quilmes, Argentina two years ago. Toshiro Tachibana capitalized twice in free play to boost Japan up 2-1 by half time. The closely-matched affair continued as Shinji Kawauchi put his team up by two before Michal Raciniewski netted one for Poland to keep the game in reach.
Player of the Tournament: Jang Jong Hyun (Korea)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: David Harte (Ireland)
Best Junior Player of the Tournament: Gabriel Ho-Garcia (Canada)
Top scorer: Jang Jong Hyun (Korea) - 8 goals
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