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Monday, May 14, 2007

Australia's Azlan Cup

Malaysia had to be satisfied with a silver medal finish after going down 1-3 to the mighty Australians in the final of the 16th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium here.

Despite the defeat the Malaysian players can still walk tall, as this is the national squad's best finish in 22 years.

Australia pressed towards the Malaysian side from the start of the match, forcing Malaysia to defend with all 11 men inside the semi-circle.

They got a penalty corner in the 4th minute but Malaysian keeper S. Kumar was quick off the mark to deny the Kookaburras.

Australia continued their attacks and were rewarded with a second penalty corner and this time around, postman Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi, cleared the ball away.

Australia slowed down a litle after that and shifted their players around but the Malaysian defence held intact for the full 35 minutes before hitting the rest room with the score tied at 0-0.

Lady Luck favoured Australia in the second half and they got the lead in the 40th minute. In a move that resulted from the 25-yard line, Eddie Ockenden beat three defenders and Kumar before tapping the ball in from close range.

Ockenden then stretched the lead to 2-0 when he deflected an outside the "D" shot barely three minutes later.

The Malaysians lost their concentration after conceding the two goals and gave the Aussies the upper hand to strengthen their lead in the 53rd minute through Russell Ford.

Just before fulltime, Malaysia were awarded a penalty corner, which Jiwa Mohan flicked home.

Meanwhile, India took the bronze medal after edging South Korea 1-0 in the 3rd/4th classification match earlier today.

In a tight match that saw both teams marking their men carefully, India had to wait until the match was well into the second half before they could wear down the Koreans.

Sardara Singh broke the deadlock in the 49th minute when he slammed home a loose ball from the top of the "D" - Bernama.