News for 31 August 2013

All the news for Saturday 301 August 2013


India sail into the final with a 2-0 win over Malaysia



IPOH: India showed they are still a team to be reckoned with in the World order when they defeated Malaysia 2-0 to make the final of the 9th Asia Cup at the Azlan Shah Stadium.

India, winners in 2003 and 2007, will play South Korea in the final on Sunday.

Both teams went into the match without having the pressure of World Cup qualification over their heads. Both teams had already qualified no matter who wins the Asia Cup now, thanks to South Korea’s 2-1 win over Pakistan in the earlier semi-final.

But both teams were equally determined to make the final and it showed in their game which was fast and free flowing.

But with good penalty flickers at both ends the set piece move is always going to count in a close match as this.

And after a few missed chances early in the match the Indians earned their first penalty corner in the eighth minute.

The burly V. R. Raghunath made no mistake with his direct attempt which sailed past Malaysian keeper S. Kumar.

But despite the early lead the Indians went into a defensive mode hoping to capitalise on counter attacks.

They did get close to scoring a couple of times but Kumar was in good form to deny them.

The second half saw the Malaysians going all out to secure a goal and they even had two penalty corners get the goal.

But the Indians held out and in the 60th minute made it 2-0 to seal the match in their favour.

Rupindepal Singh’s long hit found an unmarked Ramandeep Singh who dribbled into the D and sent pass to the left after beating Kumar. Mandeep Singh who was following through had the easy task of directing the ball in the net.

The Malaysians tried had to comeback but the time ran out for them. India made the final and has a chance to win their third Asia Cup.

Mandeep won the man-of-the-match award.

Official Asia Cup site



Pakistan out of 2014 World Cup after a 2-1 semi-final defeat to South Korea in Asia Cup



IPOH: Pakistan, a regular in the World Cup since its inception in 1971, will not be Holland next year for the 13th edition.

Asia Cup defending champions South Korea ended the Pakistan dream with 2-1 win in the semi-finals at the Azlan Shah Stadium.

Two well take penalty corners by the Koreans did the trick in a pulsating match where Pakistan needed nothing short of a win It was an important match for the Pakistanis as their qualification for the 2014 World Cup was at stake.

The four-time World Champion has been knocked out and that means India has now qualified for Holland along with Korea and Malaysia. But they will have to wait for a final confirmation from the FIH, unless they make the final and win it.

The Pakistanis won the World Cup in 1971, 1973, 1978 and 1994.

Pakistan needed to win and make the final, as they can only qualify for the Finals in Holland by winning the Asia Cup.

The Koreans on the other are determined to win their fourth Asia Cup and do not have any pressure as they have already booked their World Cup berth.

Thus it was not surprising that both teams started off cautiously and play was centred on the midfield. Pakistan had two penalty corner attempts in the first half but both times their executions failed them.

The South Koreans, who were also hoping to capitalise on a quick counter attack, did just that when they earned their first penalty corner in the 32nd minute.

The first attempt taken by Jang Jong-hyun did n’t work out as they Koreans went for a variation. Fortunately for them the ball hit a Pakistan player and a second corner given.

This time Jong-hyun made no mistake with his drag flick as he scored on the right side of goalkeeper Salman Akbar.

The second half saw action from end to end and neither side let up on their play. The pace was also fast and the tempo increased with each passing minute.

The Koreans within five minutes of the second half had increased their lead. Lee Nam-young took their fourth penalty corner attempt and scored. He was named man-of-the-match after his goal turned into the match winner.

Pakistan tried to salvage the game when they scored in the 46th minute through Muhammad Imran drag flick off a penalty corner.

But the shutters came down as the Koreans defended in numbers to keep the score intact. And in the end Pakistan’s World Cup dream went up in smoke.

Official Asia Cup site



Japan and Oman to play for fifth placing

IPOH:  Japan and Oman will battle for fifth placing in the Asia Cup at the Azlan Shah Stadium on Saturday.

Japan defeated Bangladesh 3-0 in the cross-over classification match while Oman overcame Chinese Taipei 2-0

In the first match Japan dominated the exchanges  and was able to win easily while the second match ended in a shootout after the match ended 2-2 at regulation time. Japan look as the favourite to clinch fifth place.

Toshiro Tashibana scored the opening goal for Japan in the ninth minute while Koji Kayukawa increased the lead in the 26th minute for a 2-0 first half lead.

The second half was scrappy and Japan managed to increase the lead in the 70th minute off Tachibana’s penalty corner attempt.

Japanese skipper Kei Kawakami was named man-of-the-match.

In the other match Oman were lucky to have got on a winning note after an own goal by Chinese Taipei in the 24th minute.

Samir Haliyas Juma’an then made it 2-0 with a field goal in the 31st minute and Oman worked hard to keep it that way for the rest of the second half.

But two late strikes by the Chinese Taipei team saw the match heading for a shootout.

Liu Ching Kun was on target in the 58th minute and then with three minutes of play left Tseng Hsien-yi scored the equaliser off a field attempt.

In the shootout Oman were luckier as the managed to score two of the five attempts which the Chinese Taipei side missed all their chances.

Oman’s scorers in the shootout were Ali Salim Humaid Al-Zadjali and Samir Haliyas Juma’an.

Chinese Taipei’s Hsien-yi was named man-of-the-match.

Official Asia Cup site



Korea ends Pakistan’s World Cup hopes, meets India in final

S. Thyagarajan



South Korean players celebrate after scoring a goal against Pakistan during the 9th Asia Cup field hockey tournament in Ipoh on Friday.

It was double delight for India at the Asia Cup hockey championship here on Friday. First, Korea threw open a window for India to secure its spot at the next World Cup by shunting Pakistan out with a 2-1 semifinal victory. Then, perhaps spurred on by the turn of events, India prevailed 2-0 over Malaysia in the other semifinal.

However, unless it wins the cup here against Korea on Sunday, India’s berth at The Hague World Cup will be confirmed only at the conclusion of the Oceania Cup in November.

Splendid shot

There was a lot of fizz in Malaysia’s early raids led by Faisal Saari and Md. Fitri Saari, but it was India that forged ahead thanks to a splendid shot by V.R. Raghunath from a penalty corner within 10 minutes of play.

Stung by this reverse, the Malaysians intensified pressure but the Indian defenders, under Sardar Singh and Birendera Lakra, handled it with equanimity. Goal-keeper Sreejesh was confidence personified: one save from a penalty corner off Razie stood out for splendid anticipation and athleticism.

India clung to the lead till the end of the first session. While wing-half Kothajit Singh and Dharamvir Singh worked away on the approaches, the defenders held on in the face of consistent probing by the Malaysians.

India went on to enlarge the lead when Mandeep Singh netted taking advantage of a brilliant solo run by Ramandeep Singh 10 minutes from the final whistle.

For sheer drama and excitement it was the earlier encounter that held the spectators enthralled despite inclement weather.

The pitch was heavy after sharp showers earlier, but the Koreans were not inhibited on account of this.

Prompted brilliantly by Jang Jong from the mid-field, the Korean sallies, developed by Kang Kweon from the right and Lee Nam Jong from the middle, caught the Pakistani defenders on the wrong foot on many an occasion. Skipper Imran Muhammad held on heroically but eventually the defenders capitulated.

Holding on to the lead

Korea took the lead through an immaculate penalty corner conversion by Jang Jong, and held on to it till half time.

Pakistan’s urgency was evident in the way it responded. Shakeel Abbasi, who had sustained a painful knee injury in the first half from a clearance from Cho Suk Hoon, strove to inspire the rest.

Shafqat Rasool worked hard on the right flank as did the diminutive Waseem Ahmed in the mid-field.

However, Korea struck again early on resumption off a penalty corner. A fierce shot by Jang Jong was saved by Salman Akbar, but Lee Nam Young pounced on the rebound to slot in the second goal.

The writing was on the wall for the Pakistan, which summoned every ounce of its energy and skill to stay in the fight, and it was rewarded midway through from a penalty corner by skipper Imran Muhammad.

There was still some time left for Pakistan to make a match out of it. Frenetic attacks followed, but they were defended equally well by the Koreans.

In the final minutes, the Pakistanis withdrew goal-keeper Salman and allowed all 11 players on the field to go for the kill. But that measure did not work.

Agony was writ large on their faces as the Pakistanis left the field aware of the fact that they will miss the World Cup for the first time since its inauguration in 1971.

“It was bad news for Pakistan hockey, but we will have to live with that reality,” observed Tahir Zaman, assistant coach to the team.

The results: Semifinals: India 2 (V.R. Raghunath, Mandeep Singh) bt Malaysia 0. Korea 2 (Jang Jong, Lee Nam Yong) bt Pakistan 1 (Imran Muhammad).

For places 5-8: Japan 3 (Toshiro Tachibana 2, Kayukawa Koji) bt Bangladesh 0; Chinese Taipei (Own Goal, Al Shibli Haliyas) drew with Chinese Taipei 2 (Lin Cheng Chang, Teseng Yu-Che) Tie breaker: Oman 2, Chinese Taipei 0.

Saturday’s matches: 7-8: Bangladesh v Chinese Taipei (3:05 p.m). IST; 5-6: Japan v Oman (5-35 p.m.).

It is bad news for Pakistan, but we will have to live with that reality, said Tahir Zaman, assistant coach

The Hindu



India end Malaysia's hopes

ASIA CUP: To meet Korea in the final

By JUGJET SINGH


MALAYSIA let slip another chance to capture the Asia Cup after bungling more than 10 sitters to hand the final slot to India 2-0 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday.

There was an inspiring performance from Paul Revington's men but they just could not score while India will have to bring out their best against South Korea in the final tomorrow.

Malaysia will play for the bronze medal against Pakistan, who will not feature in the World Cup for the first time since its inception in 1971.

"I'm sorry Pakistan will not play in the World Cup, but at the same time, congratulations to Malaysia and India. Malaysia will be back in the World Cup after 12 years, and they have worked hard for it," said Korean coach Shin Seok Kyo.

Malaysia coach Paul Revington said: "I'm very disappointed with the defeat, as we had created the chances but did not take them.

"Now I will have to motivate the players to go for the bronze, as that is the only option left."

A good 30 minutes before the match started, the Malaysian flag was displayed on the scoreboard and patriotic Merdeka songs were played to whip up the capacity crowd.

Malaysia started on a sizzling note, as in the first two minutes, Faizal Saari and Nabil Fiqri blazed into the semi-circle, but their shots were just centimetres wide.

South Korea had beaten Pakistan 2-1 in the earlier semi-final, a result which pushed India into the World Cup, going by the World League reserve list. This had reduced the second semi-final to an Asia Cup title battle.

The World League format saw three Asian teams qualify for the World Cup in the Netherlands next year -- South Korea, Malaysia and India.

Pakistan, four-time World Cup champions, will sit out for the first time since its inception in 1971.

In the first semi-final, the Korean goals were scored by Jang Jong Hyun (31st) and Lee Nam Young (40th) while the Pakistan goal was scored by Muhammad Imran (46th).

Malaysia looked more determined but it was India who nailed the first goal off their first penalty corner in the eighth minute when VR Raghunath nailed his sixth goal of the tournament.

There was never a dull moment. Twenty minutes into the match, Malaysia went for the equaliser but missed again as Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin's shot was just wide, and the tale of misses continued until half-time as Malaysia even failed to win a single penalty corner.

After the break, Malaysia kept up the pressure and after another handful of bungled attempts, they finally won their first penalty corner of the match in the 45th minute.

The ball hit an Indian runner's leg and there was a follow on penalty corner but goalkeeper PR Sreejesh brought out a super save when Razie Rahim made the second attempt.

The Malaysian forward line kept bungling sitters, and in the 60th minute, India's Mandeep Singh had the easiest task of tapping in the ball from close range to increase the lead to 2-0.

New Straits Times



Malaysia fall to India

By AFTAR SINGH



Malaysian players try to get the ball from India's Rupinder Pal Singh during their Asia Cup semi-final match on Aug 30, 2013. India won 2-0, making it to the final.

IPOH: Malaysia wasted numerous chances to lose 2-0 to India and let slip the chance of qualifying for their first ever Asia Cup final at the Azlan Shah Cup Stadium on Friday.

India, who got their goals through defender V.R. Raghunath (7th) and Mandeep Singh (60th), will face defending champions South Korea in the final on Sunday.

Malaysia will take on three-time champions Pakistan in the third-placing match.

National coach Paul Revington was disappointed with his strikers’ profligacy.

“We had so many chances compared to India but couldn’t score. I’m disappointed with the forwards for firing blanks,” he said.

“However, we will go all out to get the better of Pakistan to at least win the bronze medal.”

India coach Roelant Oltmans was pleased with his players’ performance, saying “it was our best match so far in the tournament”.

“Malaysia gave us a real good fight from the start to the end but we did well to take an early lead. My players were physically and mentally stronger ... and we’re happy to reach the final,” said the Dutchman.

Forward Faizal Saari was the biggest letdown in the national team as looked lost in the match.

The national defenders, for once, played better in the match.

Malaysia, cheered on by 7,000 fans, went on the offensive right from the start and should have taken the lead through Faizal in the second minute. But his close range shot went inches wide.

A minute later Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor’s reverse stick attempt from the top D also sailed wide.

India then took the lead in the seventh minute off their first penalty corner, with Raghunath’s powerful drag flick beating goalkeeper S. Kumar.

It was Raghunath’s sixth goal of the tournament.

The Malaysian forwards wasted nearly half a dozen gilt-edged chances in the first-half alone.

Malaysia earned their first penalty corner 10 minutes into the second-half but India goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh did well to save Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim’s low flick.

Faizal had another golden chance to equalise in the 55th minute but his deflected shot went inches wide.

Three minutes later, Nabil Fiqri missed an open chance.

And India made Malaysia pay for their poor finishing when 18-year-old Mandeep Singh collected a through pass from Ramandeep Singh to tuck the ball into the open goal in the 60th minute.

The Star of Malaysia



India pip Malaysia 2—0 to enter final


Nikhin Thimmiah wards off a tackle by Malaysia's Firhan as Chinglensana watches the action in the semi-final of the Asia Cup hockeyn championship at Ipoh on Friday.

Virtually assured of a World Cup berth, India produced an inspiring performance beating hosts Malaysia 2-0 to enter the final of the 9th Asia Cup hockey tournament on Friday.

The Koreans have already qualified for the World Cup while India and Malaysia have all but qualified for the World Cup as the first and second reserves.

There was some fantastic news awaiting the Indian team prior to the start of their semi—final clash against the Malaysians after defending champions South Korea beat Pakistan 2—1 in a hard—fought first semi—final at the Sultan Azlan Shah stadium.

Three—time champions Pakistan’s defeat meant that India and Malaysia now have virtually qualified for next year’s World Cup, the official confirmation of which will come only after the conclusion of the Oceania Cup in November.

It will also be the first time Pakistan will not feature in the World Cup since it started in Barcelona back in 1971.

Buoyed by this development, the Indians started the semi—final against Malaysia on a confident note and stunned the packed home crowd at the Azlan Shah Stadium with an early goal.

Raghunath took his goal—tally to seven when the big—bodied dragflicker converted India’s first penalty corner in the eighth minute.

However, it was the home team which enjoyed the early share of exchanges and had couple of scoring chances at the start.

While on the first occasion Faizal Saari missed from a close range, an unmarked Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor shot wide a minute later with only Indian custodian P R Sreejesh to beat.

The Malaysian’s created lot of scoring opportunities in the entire 70 minutes but the Indian defence led goalkeeper Sreejesh stood like rock to thwart the chances.

If it was not for Malaysian goalkeeper Kumar Subramaniam, India could have doubled their lead just four minutes from half—time. An alert Subramiam made a fine save to deny Rupinderpal Singh from their second penalty corner as India went into the breather leading by a goal.

Missed chances were the order of the day for Malaysia as they continued to create numerous scoring opportunities after the change of ends but failed to cash on them.

Malaysia earned back—to—back penalty corners 10 minutes into the second half but a brilliant Sreejesh under the Indian goal denied the hosts with a fine save.

To the agony of the partisan home crowd, Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin missed an open chance in the 58th minute.

The Indians were quick to rub salt into Malaysia’s wounds by doubling the lead in the 60th minute through Mandeep Singh’s who scored his fifth of the tournament after a fine one—two with Ramandeep Singh.

The Malaysians tried hard, but in the last few minutes with continuous raids but the Indian defence managed to hold to their lead.

India will play South Korea in the summit clash on Sunday. India had earlier defeated the Koreans 2—0 in the pool stages.

The Hindu



It was our best game in Asia Cup: Oltmans

IPOH (MALAYSIA): India on Friday defeated Malaysia to enter the final of the ongoing ninth Asia Cup hockey tournament here and the team's interim coach Roelant Oltmans said it was the best performance from his wards in the tournament so far.

India will face defending champions Korea in the summit clash after the Koreans beat Pakistan 2-1 in the first semifinal at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium here.

"I am quite pleased with our performance. I am pleased the way we played, the energy we brought showed in the game. We utilised the first chance of the game. We knew it will be a difficult game. Malaysia is a very good side. They showed that in the last couple of tournaments. We really had to go all out win this match," Oltmans said after the match.

"I think it was the best game for us in the tournament. It's a great team effort," he insisted.

"We had to be very well orgainsed and we did that through the game. It is a very young side. We are missing quite a number of players."

There was good news for India just before the start of their semifinal clash against the hosts after Korea eked out a narrow 2-1 win over Pakistan in first semifinal.

Three-time champions Pakistan's defeat means, India and Malaysia have virtually qualified for next year's World Cup, the official confirmation of which will come only after the conclusion of the Oceania Cup in November.

It will also be the first time Pakistan will not feature in the World Cup since it started in Barcelona in 1971.

The Koreans have already qualified for the World Cup, while India and Malaysia are also virtually through to the World Cup as the first and second reserves.

Asked Oltmans whether his boys were under less pressure going into the semifinal knowing that they have virtually secured their World Cup ticket, he quipped, "What happens if Fiji wins the Oceania Cup?

"Of course we knew that (Pakistan) result but at the same time it was very important to keep the attention for the game. But going into the match we knew that our chances of qualifying for the World Cup have become very high," he said.

"At the same time we knew we were playing the semifinal of the Asia Cup and we wanted to win the match as well."

Going into Sunday's final, India will be high on confidence as they defeated Korea 2-0 in the pool stages. But Oltmans warned his boys against complacency.

"It's a new game. We will have to forget the results from the past. They don't count anymore. The fact that Korea won today showed why they are here for. They are here to win the Asia Cup and they showed it today by beating Pakistan," the Dutchman said.

"It will be a very tough game. But the good thing was that we conceded less penalty corners as we did against Korea. But we will have to be aware about everything because Korea is a very dangerous side," he added.

The Times of India



Roelant Oltmans: "This is the best win for India so far"

India has done it again. The two-time Asia cup champions India will take on the defending champs South Korea in the finals, the team which India thrashed 7-2 in the finals of 2007 edition.

Beating all the odds and defying Malaysia's home advantage, India played a superb game, especially in the second half to win the semi-final 2-1. Indian coach Roelent Oltmans is certainly a content man after this win.

"Oh this is the best win for India so far in the tournament. I am not very happy the way we played in the first half, but the game we played in the second half was superb. If we play the same second-half game throughout the finals, we are definitely going to win the Asia cup," says the delighted coach. India's star drag-flicker Rahunath rose to the occasion again and gave India lead in opening minutes itself. On the other hand, the host nation could not convert even a single out the 4 penalty corners they got. That gives Oltmans another reason to smile.

"Our penalty corner conversion in the tournament has been very good so far and the early lead we got, paved our way to success. Also, we conceded lesser PCs in this game as compared to the South Korea game, which is a good thing for us," says the Dutch.

The Indian team played this match without any extra pressure of qualification for the world cup 2014, because in the earlier semi-final, Pakistan lost to South Korea. So if all remains well, India (and of course Malaysia) will surely play in the 2014 World cup in Netherlands. Indian coach agrees that playing this particular match without the world-cup pressure was quite relieving.

"Of course Pakistan losing to Korea was a reliever for us and that took off a lot of pressure from the guys. But on the other hand, I had to make sure that the hunger to win this match remains in the team, because end of the day, we are playing in the Asia cup. And a win in the semis is the second good news for us," reveals a relieved coach.

India will take on South Korea in the finals. India has already beaten them 2-0 in the league stage but Oltmans will never be complacent against the Koreans.

"South Korea is a very dangerous team. The way they played in the semi-final against Pakistan tells you that they are a totally different team in the knock-out matches. Of course we have already beaten them, but finals will be a different game altogether. What we have won in the past, is past now. We have to play well again to win the finals," finishes Oltmans with confidence.

Stick2Hockey.com



India eye Asia Cup title win for direct qualification


Indian hockey team players celebrate after beating Malaysia 2-0 to enter the final of the 9th Asia Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh, Mayaysia on Friday. The Indian team are also qualified for the World Cup.

Their World Cup berth all but secured, a confident India would look to book a direct ticket to next year’s mega-event by winning the ongoing ninth Asia Cup hockey tournament when they clash with defending champions South Korea, in Ipoh on Sunday.

Both India and Malaysia have virtually qualified for the World Cup to be held at The Hague, Netherlands after South Korea shut the door on Pakistan with a narrow 2-1 win in the first semifinal.

Pakistan, record four time World Cup champions, will be missing the show-piece event for the first time since the inception of the tournament in 1971.

Korea having already qualified for the World Cup, Pakistan’s passage to the quadrennial event was possible by winning the Asia Cup.

But their defeat has opened the door for India and Malaysia who will now just have to wait for the official confirmation from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) after the conclusion of the Oceania Cup in November.

But the Sardar Singh-led Indian side will be in no mood to wait till November and would be desperate to secure their direct ticket to Hague with a win over South Korea on Sunday.

Having finished a lowly a seventh in the last edition of the tournament in 2009, redemption will also be in the minds of the Indians when they take on Korea on Sunday.

Two-time champions India last won the Asia Cup in 2007 on home soil when Southern city of Chennai hosted the event.

And having defeated Korea 2-0 in the pool stages, the Indians would be brimming with confidence ahead of the summit clash.

India, who has so far looked the best side in the tournament, are unbeaten going into the final and they would look to keep their record intact.

In the four matches they played so far in the tournament, India have conceded just one goal while pumped in as many as 21 goals against their opponents.

Interestingly, India’s defence, considered as the perennial problem of the team, has been the unlikely hero in the tournament so far.

The backline comprising VR Raghunath, Rupinder Pal Singh, Kothajit Singh, Gurmail Singh and Biremdra Lakra have stood like a wall and have gained confidence from the impressive form of the team’s vice captain and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh behind them.

Against Malaysia in the semifinal, the Indian defence rose to the occasion and thwarted numerous scoring chances to deny any inroads to the hosts.

A significant air of confidence is also visible among Indian players in the tournament. Raghunath and Rupinder seemed to be relishing the extra responsibility as the duo looks intimidating and fearsome with the drag-flicks.

As always captain Sardar Singh holds the key in India’s midfield under whose shadow youngsters like Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh and S.K. Uthappa have blossomed.

India’s young and inexperienced forward-line too has managed to live up to the expectations so far.

India’s forward-line — without the likes of SV Sunil, Gurwinder Singh Chandi, Danish Mujtaba and Akashdeep Singh — so far has been well served by Mandeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Malak Singh, Nithin Thimmaiah and Nikkin Thimmaiah. They have combined well to expose holes in the opposition’s defence.

Young Mandeep, in particular, is in superb form and so far scored five goals in the tournament, including a fine field goal against Malaysia in Friday’s semifinal.

But the Indians need to draw a line between confidence and over-confidence as in Korea they take on a very dangerous opposition who showed their intentions clear against Pakistan on Friday.

“It’s a new game. We will have to forget the results from the past. They don’t count anymore. The fact that Korea won against Pakistan showed why they are here for. They are here to win the Asia Cup and they showed it by beating Pakistan,” India’s interim coach Roelant Oltmans said.

“It will be a very tough game. We will have to be aware about everything because Korea is a very dangerous side,” he added

For Korea, revenge would high on agenda going into tomorrow’s encounter. Having lost to India in the pool stages, the Koreans would be desperate to avenge their defeat and defend their title here.

As they did against Pakistan, the Koreans are expected to adopt a defensive approach and surprise their opponents with quick counter-attacks.

All in all, an exciting match is on the cards which will decide the best hockey team of Asia.

The Hindu



India assured of Hockey World Cup berth

V Narayan Swamy


BANGALORE: India rode on Pakistan's defeat at the men's Asia Cup on Friday to assure themselves of a berth at next year's World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.

South Korea did Sardar Singh's men a big favour with a 2-1 victory in the first semifinal in Ipoh which considerably lessened the number of aspirants for the three vacant World Cup slots.

Nine teams, including Korea, have already qualified for the global competition.

Later, Korea's good turn apparently inspired the Indians to reach the title round with a 2-0 win over Malaysia. VR Raghunath and Mandeep scored for India.

Having defeated Korea 2-0 earlier in the league, India will look for a repeat in Sunday's final. A cup triumph will give them a direct ticket to Hague.

The team that the world will miss at the global bash next year would be Pakistan. Quite an irony that the nation would be absent for the first time from a tournament it helped conceive in 1971.

Three-time champions Pakistan's ouster is another indication of the plummeting fortunes of the sub-continental teams. With India having missed the Beijing Olympics bus in 2008, the wheel has come full circle.

The complex qualification system, which shifted the primacy to the International Hockey Federation's (FIH) World League semifinals, put paid to Pakistan's hopes.

The first six qualifiers were selected from the two WL semifinals in Rotterdam and Johor Bahru. The top three teams from Johor Bahru - Germany, Argentina and England - qualified along with Belgium, Australia and the Netherlands (Rotterdam). But with the Dutch already having qualified as hosts, New Zealand (fourth in Rotterdam) made the grade.

The FIH wait list for the remaining five slots read thus: Korea (4th in Johor Bahru), Spain (5th in Rotterdam), Malaysia (5th in Johor Bahru) and India (6th in Rotterdam). Spain were placed ahead of Malaysia thanks to their superior ranking.

Korea were confirmed as the eighth qualifier two weeks ago when Argentina emerged as the Pan American champions.

With the South American nation having already qualified thanks to a second-place finish at Johor Bahru, Korea were immediately handed a World Cup ticket.

They were followed by Spain, who took the slot on offer in Europe although they finished fifth in the continental meet at Boom. Luckily for them, the four teams which finished ahead of them had already earned WC berths.

Though India left for Ipoh with the sole objective of winning the Asia Cup, they knew that the qualification process had left the door ajar for them to sneak in. Pakistan winning the Asia Cup would have ended their chances but that was not to be.

As of now, Malaysia will make the grade if Korea win the final on Sunday. India will then have to wait for the result in the Oceania championship, which over the years has been reduced to a two-horse race between Australia and New Zealand.

With both the teams having already qualified, India will occupy the 11th slot. The African continent will throw up the 12th qualifier.

Results (Semifinals): India 2 (VR Raghunath 8pc, Mandeep Singh 60) beat Malaysia 0; Korea 2 (Jang Jong Hyun 31, Lee Nam Yong 40) beat Pakistan 1 (Md Imran 46).

The Times of India



India qualify for World Cup after Pakistan's defeat

IPOH (Malaysia): India on Friday were virtually assured of a berth in next year's World Cup after arch-rivals Pakistan suffered a 1-2 defeat at the hands of South Korea in the first semifinal of the ninth Asia Cup.

The defeat means Pakistan have missed the bus to the World Cup, which is to be held at The Hague, Netherlands, for the first time since the introduction of the event in 1971.

Only three more World Cup spots are up for grabs as nine teams have already secured their berths. And India and Malaysia more or less can heave a sigh of relief now as both the teams have almost booked their places for the mega-event along side South Korea, who took the eighth berth after Argentina won the Pan American Cup recently.

Even if they fail to win here, India and Malaysia would officially secure their World Cup berths after the end of the Oceania Championships, which either Australia or New Zealand is expected to win.

South Korea's goals came through penalty corner conversions from Jang Jong Hyun in the 31st minute and Lee Nam Yong in the 40th minute, while Pakistan's lone goal was scored by skipper Muhammad Imran (46th).

It was a keenly-contested first semifinal between Pakistan and South Korea, which started under persistent drizzle and damp conditions.

But as the match progressed the weather cleared up, allowing both the teams to play free-flowing hockey and entertain the crowd.

Pakistan had the lion's share of ball possession at least in the opening half while the Koreans put the Pakistani defence under pressure with counter-attacks.

Pakistan got the first scoring chance when they earned a penalty corner in the third minute but captain Muhammad Imran, the team's short corner specialist, shot wide.

Pakistan played attacking hockey but the Koreans were clever to seize the opportunities that came their way.

Korea earned two penalty corners in succession in the last five minutes of the opening half and they successfully took the lead to stun the Pakistanis.

Jang Jong Hyun converted the second short corner with a low dragflick to emerge as the tournament's highest scorer and help Korea enjoy a 1-0 lead at halftime.

Just five minutes after the change of ends, the Koreans shocked Pakistan again when Lee Nam Yong scored from a rebound after Jang Jong Hyun's flick was saved by rival goalkeeper Salman Akbar.

Pakistan managed to reduce the margin six minutes later when Imran converted a short corner in the 46th minute.

Thereafter, Pakistan pressed hard for the equalizer but the Korean defence stood tall to deny them.

The Pakistanis earned two penalty corners in the last 15 minutes but they failed to execute them, even as Korea defended valiantly.

In a desperate search for the equaliser, Pakistan even played the last two minutes of the game without their goalkeeper, infusing another forward in his place but that move too failed to yield any favourable result.

Pakistan will now play the losers of the second semifinal between India and Malaysia in the bronze medal match.

The Times of India



Pakistan fail to qualify for 2014 World Cup

By AFTAR SINGH



South Korean players celebrate after their second goal against Pakistan in the Asia Cup. South Korea won 2-1.

IPOH: Four-time world champions Pakistan blew their chances of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup after losing to defending champions South Korea 2-1 in the semi-finals of the Asia Cup at the Azlan Shah Stadium last night.

Three-time Asia Cup champions Pakistan needed to win the Asia Cup to qualify for the World Cup in The Hague, Holland.

It will be the first time Pakistan will not feature in the World Cup since it started in Barcelona in 1971.

The Koreans have qualified for the World Cup while Malaysia and India are also virtually through to the World Cup as the first and second reserves.

Pakistan’s strike force of Shakeel Abbasi only managed to create a few chances in the first-half and the Koreans defended well in numbers.

The Koreans hardly made any attempt at goal until the 30th minute when they earned two penalty corners in a row.

Jang Jong-hyun gave the Koreans the lead in the 31st minute from a penalty corner and they increased the lead in the 40th minute off another penalty corner converted by Lee Nam-yong.

Jang Jong-hyun scored off their second penalty corner as his low flicked sailed past goalkeeper Salman Akbar. It was his seventh goal in the tournament.

Pakistan also earned two penalty corners in the last two minutes of the match. The penalty corner in the 46th minute was coolly converted by Muhammad Imran. Pakistan kept up the pressure and earned another penalty corner in the 56th minute but failed to convert. They continued creating chances but the Koreans did well to stop all their attempts.

Pakistan coach Tahir Zaman said his players were heartbroken for failing to qualify for next year’s World Cup.

“It’s a sad day for us and also bad for hockey in Pakistan. We badly needed to win the Asia Cup to qualify for the World Cup. But we blew it. My boys missed a number of sitters and the Koreans played well. We now have to start planning a long term programme to make sure we bounce back to the top in Asia to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games,” said Tahir, who congratulated India for virtually qualifying for the World Cup.

Korean coach Shin Seok-kyu said it was sad that Pakistan are out of the world Cup but he congratulated Malaysia and India for earning their places in the World Cup.

“Malaysia deserves a place in the World Cup as they finished a respectable fifth in the World League semi-finals in Johor Baru last month,” said Seok-kyo.

Malaysia will feature in the World Cup after an absence of 12 years; they last played in the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur in 2002.

The Star of Malaysia



Korea hands Pakistan World Cup sorrow



Pakistan hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup were shattered by a lively Korean side, whose 2-1 win in the semi-final of the Asia Cup meant that the Greenshirts will not be part of hockey’s most prestigious event for the first time in the game’s history.

Pakistan, the most successful team in hockey with four World Cup titles (1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994) needed to win the Asian event to claim the sole qualifying ticket from this tournament.

The loss means India have virtually qualified for the 2014 World Cup and Malaysia have confirmed their ticket to The Hauge, Holland, where the tournament will be played.

“This is indeed bad news for Pakistan hockey as we are out of the World Cup. Before coming here, we knew this was our final chance of making it to the World Cup … unfortunately we lost (to South Korea),” coach Tahir Zaman said while talking to Sports247.

“We have to live with the reality now and we will have to make a long-term plan for Pakistan hockey,” he added.

The Greenshirts, who had thumped Japan, hosts Malaysia and Chinese Taipei in the run up to the semi-final, had only themselves to blame for their loss after squandering several opportunities in front of goal against a quality opposition.

The first came as early as the third minute when they earned a penalty corner. Captain Muhammad Imran, however, could not make it count. It set both players in motion, though, and the Koreans were the first to strike in the 31st minute through Jong Hyun’s penalty corner.

Another missed penalty corner by Pakistan meant that Korea went into half-time 1-0 up and with a lot of confidence.

They started in the same vein in the second half and doubled their lead in the 40th minute when Lee Nam Yong tapped home a saved penalty corner.

Pakistan pulled a goal back six minutes later from their third penalty corner of the game, Imran finally coming good with his effort.

Pakistan found their stride after their first goal, but once again missed the target for the all-important equaliser. With time running out, they replaced their goalkeeper with a kicking back but to no avail.

“It is sad Pakistan couldn’t make it to the World Cup, but I would like to congratulate Malaysia and India who are virtually through to the competition,” said South Korea coach Shin Seok Kyo.

“Our aim now is to win create history by winning the Asia Cup the fourth time.”

Dawn



‘We have lost our identity’

By Fawad Hussain



Greenshirts looked off-colour in the decisive match as they faced their first major test against South Korea where penalty-corners were in focus. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan, once the most successful side in the history of hockey’s World Cup, failed to qualify for next year’s edition following a 2-1 defeat to South Korea in their Asia Cup semi-final in Ipoh, Malaysia yesterday.

The four-time World Cup champions had entered the Asia Cup desperately needing the title to book their place for the 2014 global tournament in The Hague, Netherlands.

Pakistan got off to a good start in the Asian event, winning all their group matches in which they scored 24 goals and conceded just one.

However, they looked off-colour in the decisive match as they faced their first major test against South Korea where penalty-corners were in focus. The first-half saw Mohammad Imran’s side giving an even fight to their opponents. However, they conceded a goal in the 31st minute on a penalty-corner.

South Korea then doubled their lead in another penalty-corner, six minutes into the second-half.

Pakistan missed a couple of chances before Imran finally succeeded on a 46th minute penalty-corner, his third direct attempt to reduce the lead.

The team failed to build on the goal and missed a few more chances, allowing the Koreans to walk away with a 2-1 win. The result effectively knocked Pakistan out of the World Cup qualification.

In all, the green-shirts earned five penalty corners but there was no variation as they made direct attempts in all the chances.

Olympians rue ‘heartbreaking moment’

Meanwhile, the hockey legends who had been a part of the national team when they were on peak were appalled at the fiasco.“Once we were primarily known for our hockey, but now we have lost that identity,” Olympian Qamar Zia told The Express Tribune while lamenting the loss.

“I never thought we will see this day. I am shattered over the current state of affairs.”

Another Olympian Samiullah Khan – famously known as the ‘Flying Horse’ – also expressed his dejection.

“It is heart-breaking to witness hockey at its lowest ebb,” he said, simultaneously asking the current Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) officials and team management to resign.

“They had four years to raise the game but they failed. In fact, the sport declined further. The top PHF officials should step down to give competent people a chance.

“The Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games will be held [next year] in which a better set-up can start the repair work.” Commenting on the match, Samiullah said Pakistan lost in the second-half and wasted chances that cost them a crucial win.

Butt optimistic about future

Meanwhile, former captain Rehan Butt lashed out at coach Tahir Zaman for the loss but was careful not to direct any criticism at the PHF.

“There was no planning,” he said. “The penalty-corners were the decisive factor in which we failed. We didn’t dare an indirect attempt on five opportunities which indicates the coach’s failure.

“Definitely, it’s a sad day for hockey lovers but PHF should not be blamed as they brought in the best coach who unfortunately didn’t deliver. I wouldn’t say that our future is dark; many talented youngsters are getting ready for the international stage,” said Butt, who also coaches the national U16 team.

The Express Tribune



Darkest hour of Pakistan hockey, says Islahuddin


Tousiq Muhammad and South Korea's Kim Young Jin fight for the ball during their semi-final match at the Asia Cup field hockey 2013 tournament in Ipoh. -AFP PHOTO

KARACHI: Former captain Islahuddin on Friday expressed his utter disgust at Pakistan’s failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Holland after the semi-final loss against South Korea in the Asia Cup and said this is clearly the darkest hour of Pakistan hockey.

“I really feel disgusted that Pakistan which launched and pioneered the World Cup competition has today failed to make the event,” Islahuddin, who led Pakistan's triumph to the 1978 title in Buenos Aires, said on Friday.

Pakistan — once a force in world hockey — won the World Cup titles in 1971 (Barcelona), 1978 (Buenos Aires), 1982 (Bombay) and 1994 (Sydney).

Islah blamed Pakistan forwards for letting the team down in the semi-final.

They lacked imagination and spark which is deeply disappointing for me.

“Our forwards went all out midway through the second session but they failed to test South Korean goalie,” he observed.

“The failure of the team has been brought due to the poor policies of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) which has been fooling people by making excuses and by setting false goals of ‘new competitions’ after every defeat,” he pointed out.

“After finishing last out of 12 teams in the World Cup in India, the PHF targeted the London Olympics where they secured 7th spot and now they have crashed out of the Asia Cup,” he lamented.

Islah said apart from being a poor show by the forwards, the Pakistan team could convert only one of their four penalty corners which was a poor display on their part.

He said although it was a good attempt by the team management to bring out goalkeeper Salman Akbar and include an extra forward but it failed to work.

He regretted that the Pakistan hockey pool of players was shrinking and instead of 30-40 players, hardly 25 players were available for selection in the national team.

Ex-Olympian Ayaz Mahmood was also dismayed at the loss and said what happened in Ipoh was expected because of the poor administration and policies of the PHF. He said,

The academies failed to produce a single player of international calibre.

He questioned the credibility of coaches working in PHF academies across Pakistan. “There was no quality coaching. So how can you expect to produce good players?” he questioned.

Ayaz, a member of 1984 Los Angles Olympics gold medal winning team, said there was no domestic hockey, which he termed the biggest cause of Pakistan hockey decline. “While the PHF barred 30 players in domestic hockey, there are plus 30 years age players in Pakistan hockey team with veteran Wasim Ahmed leading the way,” he asserted.

He said the PHF policy of non inclusion of over 30 years caused a great damage to hockey as many department excluded their players and cancelled their contracts.

“Hockey’s revival can only be made possible if we introduce 6-a-side floodlight format which can attract investors and sponsors if done properly,” he concluded.

Dawn



Darkest day for Pakistan hockey, say ex-Olympians

Demand PHF officials to resign and let others revive national game

Zaheer Khan


LAHORE - Former Olympians and hockey legends demanded the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) officials to resign immediately after the disastrous performance in the 9th Asia Cup at Ipoh, Malaysia which deprived Pakistan of qualifying for the World Cup 2014 and let others to handle the hockey affairs to revive the national game in the country.

The Pakistan hockey team missed the last opportunity to qualify for the World Cup after suffering a 1-2 defeat at the hands of South Korea in the first semi-final of the Asia Cup. Earlier, the green shirts finished seventh in the World Hockey League (WHL) which was also a qualifying event for the World Cup.

Talking to this scribe on Friday, former Pakistan Olympian and golden player Manzoor Junior said: “The defeat against South Korea not only disappointed me but also the entire nation. It is very shameful to hear that Pakistan did not qualify for the Hockey World Cup 2014 which never happened in the hockey history of Pakistan as they not only had been qualifying easily for the World Cup in the past but also produced extraordinary results winning medals in the mega events.”

“There was a lack of planning in their game and they did not play up to the mark. The semi-final must be played as do-or-die clash but such spirit was not seemed in their performance this is the reason why they lost the match against Koreans,” the gold player said.

“This poor performance and disgraceful debacle exposed the tall and false claims of the PHF officials who set World Cup 2014 as their target. They earned 12th position in the last World Cup but this time, they even failed to qualify for the World Cup. The PHF insulted the national game and failed to uplift the standard of the game. They should immediately resign in the national interest so that hockey might be saved by those who are eager to regain the past hockey glories,” he added.

Manzoor urged Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif to take a bold decision in this regard. “The Prime Minister should sack all the PHF high-ups for this shameful loss and for not qualifying for the World Cup. The PM should immediately impose an ad-hoc on the federation and form a judicial committee to probe into the matter and give exemplary punishments to those found guilty,” he concluded.

Hockey stalwart, former captain and chief coach Islahuddin Siddiqui said that this was the darkest day in national hockey as Pakistan failed to qualify for the next year’s Hockey World Cup for the first time. “I really feel disgusting that Pakistan, which launched and pioneered competition, failed to make to the World Cup,” said Islahuddin who led to Pakistan triumph 1978 Beanos Aires.

Pakistan a force in world hockey had won World Cup in 1971 (Barcelona), 1978 (Buenos Aires), 1982 (Bombay) and 1994 (Sydney). He blamed Pakistan forwards for letting the team down. “They lacked imagination and spark which deeply disappointing me. Our forwards went all-out midway through the second session but they failed to test South Korean goalie. The failure of the team was due to poor policies of the PHF which was targeting new competition after every defeat,” he added.

Former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh termed the Pakistan’s performance in the Asia Cup disastrous and demanded the PHF officials to resign so that others may handle the hockey matters for the betterment of hockey.

Disappointed Shahnaz said no ifs and buts would help them. “The PHF knows the team is weak in attacking hockey and has collapsed terribly on several occasions but what have they done for it?”

Shahnaz said this wouldn’t have happened if the PHF and the sports ministry had listened to them after the 2010 World Cup’s poor show when all the senior players had resigned. “At that time, we advised the sports ministry to accept the resignation of these players and make a new team with youngsters.”

The ex-Olympian said Pakistan hockey team would have been better if right men were selected for the right job. “Drastic steps are needed now in order to revive hockey,” he added.

He said it was easy for Pakistan to qualify for the World Cup in the WHL rather than in the Asia Cup. “The PHF had said time and again that the 2014 World Cup was their target but now where are they,” he said and added the team was not even near the World Cup.

Olympian M Saqlain also expressed his disappointment over the devastating performance of Pakistan team and demanded the removal of the PHF officials. “In today’s match, I have seen better Korean team because of their physical fitness, better defence and better utilization of plenty corners. Pakistan players failed in all the departments and could not perform well in the do-or-die match.

They have disappointed the entire nation and deprived Pakistan of qualifying for the World Cup 2014. The PHF officials must be sacked for showing such poor results,” he concluded.

The Nation



‘Darkest day for Pakistan hockey’ : Former Olympians flay PHF



LAHORE: Former Olympians have blasted the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) after the national team failed to qualify for the next year's Hockey World Cup for the first time after their stunning 1-1 loss to South Korea in the Asia Cup semi-final on Friday in Malaysia. “This is the darkest day for Pakistan hockey,” said former captain and chief coach Islahuddin Siddiqui and former Olympian Ayaz Mahmood. “I really feel disgusting that Pakistan which launched and pioneered competition, failed to make to the World Cup,” Islahuddin, who led Pakistan to triumph 1978 Beanos Aires” said. Pakistan once a big force in world hockey had won World Cup in 1971 (Barcelona), 1978 (Buenos Aires), 1982 (Bombay) and 1994 (Sydney). He blamed the Pakistan forwards for letting the team down. “They lacked imagination and spark which deeply disappointed me,” he added. He said the failure of the team was due to poor policies of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) that was targeting new competitions after every defeat. He said Pakistan hockey was shrinking and instead of pool of 30-40 players, the PHF had only got 25 players to select in the Pakistan team. “After finishing 12 out of 12 in World Cup in India they targeted London Olympics where they secured 7th spot and they went out in the semi-final of Asia Cup,” he maintained.

Ayaz said what happened in the Asia Cup was expected earlier because of poor administration and policies of the PHF. “The Academies started by the PHF failed to produce a single player of international calibre,” he said. He questioned the credibility of coaches working in the PHF academies across Pakistan. “There is no quality coaching. So how you can expect to produce good players,” he pointed out. Ayaz, a member of 1984 Las Angles Olympics gold medal winning team, said there was no domestic hockey which was biggest cause of decline of hockey. “While the PHF has barred 30 plus players in domestic hockey, there are 30 plus players in Pakistan hockey team with veteran Wasim Ahmed leading the way,” he concluded.

The Daily Times



PHF officials should let others improve hockey: Shahnaz Sheikh



LAHORE: Former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh, while terming Pakistan's performance in the Asia Cup disastrous, has demanded the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) officials to resign from their posts and let others handle the hockey matters for the game's improvement. Pakistan on Friday missed the last opportunity to qualify for the World Cup after suffering a 1-2 defeat at the hands of South Korea in the first semi-final of the 9th Asia Cup in Malaysia. Shahnaz, who was disappointed with the team and the PHF, said no ifs and buts would help them. “The PHF knew the team was weak in attacking hockey and collapsed terribly on several occasions. But what have they done for it?” He advised the PHF to let other talented administrators take over the job. Shahnaz said this wouldn't have happened if the PHF and sports ministry had listened to former Olympians after the 2010 World Cup's poor performance when all the senior players had resigned.

“At that time we advised the sports ministry to accept the resignation of these players and make a new team with the youngsters,” he said. Shahnaz, who played between 1969 and 1978, said this Pakistan hockey team would have been better if right men were selected for the right job. “Drastic steps are needed now in order to revive the game of hockey,” he maintained. He said it was easy for Pakistan to qualify for the World Cup in the World Hockey League rather than in the Asia Cup. “The PHF had time and again said that the 2014 World Cup was their target but now where are they,” he said adding that the team was not even near the World Cup. He said Pakistan should have a settled squad of youngsters now. “Time and again I have advised the PHF to focus the players on attacking hockey which is the demand of modern field hockey," he concluded.

The Daily Times



Pakistan hockey coach to quit after Asia Cup

IPOH (Malaysia): Pakistan's failure to qualify for next year's hockey World Cup has already started to roll heads with coach Tahir Zaman hinting that he will step down from his position after the conclusion of the ongoing ninth Asia Cup.

Pakistan on Friday failed to qualify for the mega-event to be held at The Hague, Netherlands for the first time since the tournament's introduction in 1971.

Pakistan needed to win the Asia Cup to secure their ticket to the World Cup, but lost 1-2 to title holders South Korea in the first semifinal at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium.

"Well, I am not really very much keen (to continue). Still one game to go may be I will step down after the last game," said a visibly disappointed Pakistan coach Zaman, who took over the reins of the team only last month.

"It is a bad news for hockey overall. It is bad news for Pakistan hockey that we couldn't qualify for the World Cup. Before coming here, we knew that our only gateway to the World Cup is by winning the Asia Cup. Unfortunately, we were not able to win today's crucial game. But we have to live with the reality," he said.

Pakistan's defeat turned out to be a good news for India as they are virtually through to the World Cup along with Malaysia, the official confirmation of which will come only in November after the conclusion of the Oceania Cup.

Zaman said the need of the hour for Pakistan hockey is a long-term development programme.

"Now we need to see how we can plan out long-term programmes rather looking for short-term planning which I believe is more important," he said.

The Pakistan coach said rains before the start of the match made life difficult for his players.

"From the beginning today the boys did not play well. May be rain is one of the reason as we are not very much used to playing in rain. But that's not an excuse. We were also a bit nervous to play Korea.

"We tried to make a comeback in the second half and the boys did manage to bounce back in the second half. We also missed a lot of chances," he said.

Zaman said his main aim now will be to return home at least with the bronze medal from here.

"It is always critical time for any coach. The players are broken. They already know that they can't participate in the World Cup. So it will be difficult to reassemble the team. But I will try my best and we will try our best to at least finish on the third place," he said.

The Times of India



Toshiro gets a win for Japan

By AFTAR SINGH


IPOH: Toshiro Tachibana scored a goal in each half to steer Japan to a 3-0 win over Bangladesh in the fifth to eighth classification match in the Asia Cup at the Azlan Shah Stadium on Friday.

World No. 16 Japan, who finished sixth in the World League semi-finals in Johor Baru last month, will face Oman in the fifth placing match on Saturday.

Oman, ranked 36th in the world, defeated Taiwan 2-0 in a penalty shootout after both teams failed to break the 2-2 deadlock in regulation time.

Toshiro gave Japan the lead in the ninth minute, turning in Koshi Yamabe’s cross from the right.

Japan doubled their lead in the 26th minute through skipper Koji Kayukawa’s close range attempt.

Toshiro completed the rout in the 70th minute off a penalty corner flick.

Oman started off well against world No. 50 Taiwan by taking 2-0 lead in the first-half. Oman went ahead in the 24th minute off an own goal by Yang Fu-hsiang. Seven minutes later, they increased the lead with a field goal by Samir Haliyas Jumaan.

Despite a downpour in the second-half, Taiwan bounced back to net two goals in the last 13 minutes through Liu Ching-kun (57th) and Tseng Hsien-yi (67th) to force the shootout.

The Star of Malaysia



Deluge forces second BDO Men’s hockey semi-final to be postponed

JONATHAN COOK in Cape Town


A stunning downpour five minutes into the second half of semi-final two between favourites Tuffy Western Province and Northern Blues in the BDO Men’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament at Hartleyvale in Cape Town Friday night  forced tournament director Feico Mulder to re-schedule the remaining 30 minutes to be played at 8 am Saturday at the University of Cape Town.

Due to the rain delays and the waterlogged stadium pitch at Hartleyvale, Saturday’s classification matches in the A Section will begin at 9 am at UCT. At the time of going to Press a decision had still to be made with respect to the time and venue, UCT or Hartleyvale, of the final. However, the B Section final between Western Province Disas and Border will be at 2 pm on Hartleyvale Pitch B.

Pretoria’s Blues had WP by establishing a 3-1 lead when play was called off.

In the 21st minute Berné Burger  scored a magnificent solo goal after collecting the ball out on the left wing, cutting inside, drawing WP keeper Jacques le Roux out of goal and placing the ball inside the post (1-0). Two minutes later (23rd) the Blues won a second penalty corner and with WP skipper Andrew Cronje sent to the sin-bin, Matt Guise-Brown made it hurt even more with a stunning drag-flick that rattled the goal frame (2-0).

Near-mayhem erupted amongst the Blues fans in the 26th when Kewan Harries loped around on the left flank before slipping the ball to the in-form Richard Pautz, who made the score 3-0.

WP hit back from the re-start - just as the heavens opened with the most stunning force - when Pierre de Voux pounced on a loose ball to finish clinically in the 28th minute (3-1).

The downpour forced the players off. The remaining seven first-half minutes were completed on Pitch B. Five minutes into the second half, still on Pitch B, play was a halted due to another deluge, which made conditions dangerous. An hour later, the decision was made to play the remaining 30 minutes at 8 am at UCT Saturday.

Defending champions Southern Gauteng won the first semi-final 4-1 against KZN Raiders at Hartleyvale Stadium after leading 2-0 at half-time. Durban’s Raiders felt aggrieved at a number of decisions that went against them at key moments.

Southerns, with a dozen national players past and present, went 1-0 up in the 13th minute when Jethro Eustice won the ball near halfway and fed Julian Hykes, who was 30-metres out. The striker broke the game wide open with a magnificent display of close control and neat footwork under pressure, beating three defenders with very little space to work in near the left-hand baseline before evading keeper Gowan Jones and slipping the ball over the goalline.

In the 26th minute Southerns won the first penalty corner and Gareth Heyns fired a pass towards the far post where Dean Symons, coming at pace from the right, connected with a flat-stick deflection goal on the forehand past a stunned Raiders defence (2-0).

The Paton brothers, Wade and Taine, as well as Greg Last, worked incredibly hard and created opportunities but the decisions did not go their side’s way, causing much frustration.

After the changeover, Southerns went 3-0 up from their fourth penalty corner when Ricky West made no mistake. The Raiders appealed but to no avail.

In the 51st minute the Raiders’ Greg Last drilled a free-hit towards goal that edged off a defender’s stick on to Taine Paton, who tipped the ball in (3-1) but in the 61ST minute Eustice steered Southerns’ sixth PC low into the backboard (4-1).

FRIDAY RESULTS

A Section

Bottom four first-round playoffs: WP Peninsula 4 Free State 2; North West 7 KZN Mynahs 1.

Middle four first-round playoffs: South Africa U21 3 KZN Inland 0; Witwatersrand 3 Eastern Province 2.

Semi-final 1: Southern Gauteng 4 KZN Raiders 1.

Semi-final 2: Northern Blues 3 WP 1 (Remaining 30 minutes to be played at 8 am Saturday at UCT).

B Section

WP Disas 5 Border 2; EP Settlers 4 SA Country Districts 2.

SA Hockey Association media release



Penn State prevails in top-10 clash

Top 10: North Carolina, Virginia get one-goal wins



Brittany Grzywacz scored the go-ahead goal for No. 7 Penn State in its win against No. 8 Old Dominion. Penn State Athletics

Penn State began its season with a tough road match against No. 8 Old Dominion on Friday evening. The Lions staged a three-goal second-half comeback after trailing 1-0 at the break to grab the win in the season opener.

After many threats, the Nittany Lions evened the score at 1-1 in the 56th minute off a run from Taylor Herold. Herold, a junior, cut in from the left side of the box and wove her way through to the front of the goal and calmly finished past the keeper to level the game.

Herold’s goal sparked the Nittany Lion attack, as Penn State scored the go-ahead goal just minutes later off a penalty corner. Senior Whitney Reddig sent the ball into Laura Gebhart, who set up Brittany Grzywacz’s strike that found the back of the net to put Penn State on top at 2-1 with about 12 minutes remaining.

Six minutes later the Lions struck again. Gebhart sent a pass into the middle of the circle from the right side and found Ashtin Klingler, who poked the ball past the keeper to cement the Penn State victory. Old Dominion was the first to get on the score sheet, as Kelsey Smither scored the game’s opening goal in the 15th minute to give the hosts the early lead.

No. 1 North Carolina 2, Lock Haven 1

Behind goals from junior Samantha Travers and sophomore Casey DiNardo, North Carolina opened its 2013 season Friday afternoon with a 2-1 win at Lock Haven. Playing at the Lady Eagles’ Charlotte E. Smith Field, the No. 1 Tar Heels trailed 1-0 early but fought back to start the season off with a win.

Lock Haven’s goal came in the eighth minute of play, on the team’s only penalty corner of the day. After UNC goalkeeper Sassi Ammer saved the initial shot on the play, senior Kelly Harsch knocked in a rebound to put her team up 1-0. Those two shots were the Lady Eagles’ only shots in the game.

The Tar Heels scored with no time remaining on the first-half clock after drawing a penalty corner as the period wound down. Travers powered in a direct shot for the goal, assisted by junior Loren Shealy on the push-in and sophomore Emily Wold on the stick stop.

No. 5 Syracuse 5, Quinnipiac 1

Syracuse claimed victory in its first game of the season, defeating Quinnipiac 5-1 at the Asics Invitational on Friday afternoon. The Orange had a near shutout, holding the Bobcats off for 70 minutes before allowing a score off of a penalty corner with zero minutes on the clock.

Quinnipiac recorded the first shot of the game but Syracuse fired back within one minute of play when Emma Russell netted the first Orange goal of the season. Leonie Geyer, who is credited with an assist on the play, took the shot and Russell was able to deflect it in to take an early 1-0 lead after 3:11 minutes of play.

A penalty corner in the middle of the first half set the offense up to gain a 2-0 advantage over the Bobcats. Jordan Page inserted the penalty corner and Geyer got a shot off, which went wide, but was able to track down her own shot and pass to Lauren Brooks, who scored with 17:52 left in the first half.

No. 7 Virginia 3, Louisville 2

Virginia opened the 2013 season with a 3-2 victory against Louisville Friday night in Charlottesville.

A pair of freshmen making their collegiate debuts accounted for two of the Cavalier goals. Riley Tata scored the first goal of the season for Virginia, tapping in a long pass from senior Elly Buckley just under two minutes into the game on her first touch of the game. Caligh Foust scored Virginia’s third goal a little more than 10 minutes into the second period, dribbling to the right side of the goal and knocking the shot past the Cardinal keeper.

A pair of seniors, Buckley and Carissa Vittese, scored the Cavaliers second goal with a little more than five minutes into the second half, which broke up a 1-1 tie. Vittese was at the top of the circle to take a shot off a penalty corner insertion. Instead of shooting, she passed to Buckley in front of the net.

Buckley finished the game with a goal, an assist and also notched a defensive save in the first half. Senior Katie Robinson also made a defensive save in the frantic first period.

No. 10 Duke 4, Indiana 0

Senior Emmie Le Marchand tallied two goals and graduate student Cherry Seaborn and junior Jessica Buttinger added one each to highlight 10th-ranked Duke’s season-opening victory over Indiana Friday afternoon at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium. The Blue Devils downed the Hoosiers by a 4-0 score after outshooting the visiting squad 17-12 for the match.

Duke’s four goals were the most in a season opener since 2005, when the program opened the fall with a 7-0 win over Louisville Aug. 27 on the road. Friday’s win also marked the Blue Devils’ first shutout in a season opener since 2009.

Le Marchand started the scoring for Duke two minutes into the game, finding the back of the cage from close range to give the Blue Devils the early advantage. The squad added to its lead toward the end of the half, as Seaborn dove to touch in a ball in at the post on a feed from junior midfielder Abby Beltrani.

NCAA



Razak Cup: Defender Amin out for the count

By AFTAR SINGH



A file photo of Mohd Amin Rahim who has been ruled out of the Razak Cup hockey tournament after tearing his knee ligament in training. – Bernama Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Kuala Lumpur will not have the services of penalty corner specialist Mohd Amin Rahim for the 51st edition of the Razak Cup hockey tournament, which begins in Kuantan on Sept 5.

The 33-year-old defender was dropped from the Asia Cup team after tearing his knee ligament during training last month.

He has been undergoing rehabilitation at the National Sports Institute (ISN) in Bukit Jalil since last month.

“The doctor has advised me not to play in any tournament as it will only aggravate the injury. I won’t play in the Razak Cup as I want to be fully recovered and feature in next year’s World Cup in Holland,” said Amin, who has 247 international caps to his credit.

“I’ve been playing for Malaysia since the 1999 Brunei SEA Games but never featured in the World Cup or the Olympics.

“I’m not sure how long it will take for me to recover from the injury.”

Malaysia have virtually qualified for next year’s World Cup in The Hague, Holland. It will be held from May 31-June 14.

Amin, a Tenaga Nasional player, last featured for Malaysia in the Champions Challenge I in Argentina last November.

A total of 15 teams will feature in the two division Razak Cup this year – eight in Division One and seven in Division Two.

In Division One, 19-time champions Kuala Lumpur, who finished third in Kuantan last year, are in Group B with runners-up Pahang, Perak and Penang.

Defending champions Terengganu, Negri Sembilan, Johor and last year’s Division Two champions Malacca are in Group A.

The Division Two teams – Selangor, Armed Forces, Police, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Sabah – will play in a round robin format.

The finals for Divisions One and Two are slated for Sept 15.

The Star of Malaysia



Formidable Begumpur annexes inaugural Dhyan Chand Sports Day Cup

K Arumugam




In a match that went down the wire, established school outfit Begumpur GBSSS struck a stunning goal to win the First Dhyan Chand Sports Day Cup at Shivaji stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.

The new competition in Delhi was jointly organized by the 50-year old Nehru Society and the city based hockey NGO, One Thousand Hockey Legs.

Though Begumpur established a clear two goal lead after its main winger Braj Gopal converted a stroke, bemusing rival goalie Jaseem Md, unforgiving Saket came with a lightening goal through the stick of Vikrant close to first half, after his brother Sonu set up the move from the right flank. With half time score standing 2-1 in favour of ultimate winners, a cracker of the second half was expected, and it was. Midway through Saket GBSSS came with another stunner and equalized.

Even as the match was meandering towards a draw, came that stunner, a self goal. All rounder Abhisek Rana sprinted past from right and sent a strong diagonal, which Sushil Chauhan tried to stop but bounced into the goal. The umpire appeared a bit confused at the beginning, but moments later signaled the goal, which turned out to be the Cup decider.

Hardworking Pawan pleaded for no-touch, but the umpire stood his decision and thus the two days of exciting hockey event came to the fitting climax with Begumpur GBSSS annexing the Cup, presented by Sardar Bhupinder Singh in fond memory of his late son.

Earlier, of all the teams, Saket 2 met their seniors in the first semifinals, while Begumpur 2, again a junior side, clashed with their seniors in the morning Semifinals.

While Begumpur struggled to get past their juniors, though ultimately they won 3-0, the juniors of neighbourhood Saket buckled under the pressure of their seniors, going down to 6-1.

12 teams took part in the two-day event, three teams each in four pool, the pool topper making it to the semifinal.



As expected both Begumpur and Saket seniors made it to the grade with two clear wins, Begumpur juniors and Saket juniors too emulated their seniors with same number of wins to make it to the seminfinals from Pool C and B respectively.

What came as a surprise was Begumpur 2 winning senior side Anglo-Arabic and then defeating another senior side Ashok Vihar. Mohit Kumar, young and up-coming goalie of the Begumpur side did a favour to their team with an immaculate stopping of Rehan sSr.’s penalty push. And then ever-energetic Kishen Singh, star of the Junior side, came with a last gasp goal to seal -0 victory against Anglo Arabic.

School teams from Shahpur Jat, M.B. Road, Khanpur, Mehrauli and Ashok Vihar took part. Triple Olympic goldie Balbir Singh senior gave away the trophy and medals to the winning teams in the presence of Kukoo Walia, the brain behind the concept of Dhyan Chand Sports Day Cup.

The beaming Secretary of the Nehru Society announced the event will be held annually, and with more teams on board.

Good gesture for the schools who long for tournaments.

Stick2Hockey.com



Nehru Society starts a hockey academy with NDMC



What captured the eyes of those who came to witness the Sports Day celebrations at Shivaji stadium on Thursday was two billboards on the rear side: ‘Nehru – NDMC Hockey Academy’ with a tagline 'Marching Towards Goal'.

This is an interesting development in the city that is starved of any worthy academy after air India academy was unceremoniously closed down due to after-effect of now increasingly unpopular Commonwealth Games.

The latest news is this.

It is a good news, especially for the young hockey players in the capital city. The City based Nehru Society, which runs a chain of tournaments for both boys and girls, for domestic teams and college outfits, join hand with its long standing prompter New Delhi Municipal Committee, which owns the Shivaji stadium, to start a hockey academy.

Though minute details are not available, it is learnt that the Nehru Society will conceptualize and put on board the academy, named ‘Nehru-NDMC Hockey Academy’ , while NDMC will make available turf free of cost.

“We are in the process of fine tuning the concept. The good news is that the new Chairman of the NDMC has agreed in principle not only to be the Chairman of our Competition Committee but also to give green signal to the academy”, announced Kukoo Walia during Prize Presentation ceremony of the first Dhyan Chand Sports Day Cup on Thursday evening.

“We will shortly announce mass trials to select teams, with competent Olympians on board as selectors”, said beaming Kukoo Walia. "It will be a professional academy, with the aim of bringing the world's best coaches to India", he hinted on the vision he has for it.

It is expected that boys and girls selected from the mass trials, a section from NDMC Schools are expected to make up the hostel.

It is s good news on Sports Day which saw chain of celebrations. Besides an Under-14 tournament that ran for two days, the talented girls of MPWHA, Gwalior and matching Haryana Women Hockey Academy, Shahbad played an exciting Exhibition Match on the Shivaji stadium pitch.

Earlier GBSSS, Begumpur won the First Dhyan Chand Sports Day Cup.

Stick2Hockey.com



Crista Cullen receives Freedom of the City of London


Crista Cullen signs Freedom of London

Crista Cullen, the double Olympian and London 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist, received the Freedom of the City of London at Guildhall on Friday 23 August, in recognition of her outstanding achievements in hockey.

For nearly a decade Crista Cullen has been one of the best known stars of the women’s game, representing her country at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. A feared penalty corner specialist, the Lincolnshire-born defender has been listed in the World All Stars Team three times - in 2006, 2007 and 2010 – and played a pivotal role in England’s rise up the world rankings. Nominated for the prestigious Women's Player of the Year award for 2012 by the FIH earlier this year, Cullen announced her retirement from hockey in February after winning a bronze medal with the rest of her team at London 2012 - TeamGB's first team sport medal in 20 years.

A fierce competitor, Cullen helped England to a first ever World Cup bronze medal in 2010, the Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy bronze medals in the same year, and four European Championship bronze medals in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011, In 2012, she helped Great Britain to the country’s best ever finish at a world level tournament – silver at the Champions Trophy.

The 28-year old hockey defender’s ceremony began with her reading aloud the Declaration of a Freeman, and ended with her being greeted by Murray Craig, Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court, as a ‘Citizen of London’ and the presentation of her framed parchment certificate.

Murray Craig, Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court, said:

“My colleagues and I at the City of London Corporation have been delighted to welcome several Olympic and Paralympic athletes, all of them linked to this great city, to Guildhall to receive the Freedom of the City of London, which pays tribute to their remarkable performances at the 2012 Games.

“Crista was thrilled to receive the Freedom, which is richly deserved, and I hope that she will have fond memories of the day for many years to come.”

Alan Campbell, David Weir, Pete Reed, Joanna Rowsell, Lily van den Broeke, Natasha Baker and Shaun McKeown are among the Olympic and Paralympic athletes who have received the Freedom over the last year.

The Freedom of the City of London is believed to have begun in 1237 and enabled recipients to carry out their trade; and today, people are nominated for, or apply for, the Freedom, because it offers them a link with the historic City of London and one of its ancient traditions.

The Freedom is also offered to individuals by the City of London Corporation to help celebrate a significant achievement, or to pay tribute to their outstanding contribution to London life or public life. However, many of the so-called traditional privileges associated with the Freedom, such as driving sheep over London Bridge, no longer exist.

England Hockey Board Media release



Barry Davies steps down as BBC hockey commentator

Forty-one years have gone by since I first commentated on hockey – at the Munich Olympics, as deputy to Peter West.

A year on from London 2012, in the company of Mel Clewlow and Sean Kerly, I have decided my role in the sport should be that of a spectator – arguably more important.

The journey has been a lot of fun, with much British and English success, and I should like to thank the many people who helped me along the way.

I leave ‘the box’ with a whole host of memories and I dearly hope that 2014 will see gold at last for Kate [Walsh] and her team.

Barry Davies, BBC hockey commentator.

England Hockey Board Media release



Invictus Award: Manel Terraza shortlisted for inaugural prize

Spanish international targets €50,000 prize to fund hockey project for children with special needs




Spanish international hockey player Manel Terraza has been shortlisted for the first annual Invictus Award, a contest between seven athletes who are all in the running to win €50,000 for a special project of their choice.

The Barcelona-based 22-year-old, who represented Spain in the London 2012 Olympic Games and the recent Rabobank Hockey World League Semi Final tournament in Rotterdam, is determined to claim the prize money in a bid to develop an exceptional hockey project for children with special needs in the Barcelona area.

“My project, which is called ‘Special Hockey’, is about creating a league which is completely integrated into the national league system to give the opportunity to these kids who enjoy the training so much to compete”, said Manel in his Invictus portrait video, which can be seen by clicking the video screen above.

The award, created as part of the global launch of Paco Rabanne’s Invictus fragrance, will see the seven athletes from seven nations and seven different sports living together and facing sporting challenges. The aim is to convince internet users to vote for them in a bid to win the Invictus Award and the funds they need for their project. As well as the €50,000 up for grabs, the athletes are also competing for the chance to be the hero of the 2015 Invictus Calendar, which will be released in 2014.

Manel faces some serious competition, with extreme marathon runner Duncan Macrae (England), swimmer Maxime Bussière (France), dragon boat sailor Markus Zierke (Germany), water polo player Antonio Sangiorgi (Italy), footballer Michel Gurfi (Argentina) and jiu-jitsu martial artist Ricardo Carpentieri (Brazil) all in the running for the prize.

To win this award, I will do my best in every situation and every chance that I have”, continued Manel. “I will try to learn as much as possible and give my best”.

If you would like to help Manel in his attempt to win the Invictus Award, please register your vote by clicking here. Manel would very much appreciate your support!
http://www.pacorabanne.com/invictus/#!/candidates/manel
https://www.facebook.com/pacorabanne

FIH site