All the news for Sunday 11 September 2011
South Korea clinch women's Asian Champions Trophy hockey
ORDOS (China): South Korea fought their way back from two-goal down to overpower China 5-3 and win the women's Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament on Saturday.
The partisan crowd at the packed stadium were on their feet after China took a 2-0 lead midway into the first half but the Koreans dashed their hopes with some brilliant goals on the counter-attack. The home side were also let down by poor finishing at the Korean striking circle.
South Korea scored through Ju Ok Kim (19th), Eun Bi Cheon (23rd), Jong Eun Kim (44th), Jong Hee Kim (45th) and Mi Hyun Park (64th) while Yibo Ma (12th), Baorong Fu (18th) and Lihua Gao (48th) found the target for China.
With a stadium brimmed to the full for the first time in the tournament, China raced away to 1-0 lead with Yibo Ma converting a penalty corner in the 12th minute. The lead was enhanced in the 18th minute through a run from the right flank and Baorong Fu flicking home.
It seemed that China would run away with the trophy with an upset victory but the Koreans were far from being jolted by the reverse as they reduced the margin in the very next minute when Ju Ok Kim shot home.
It took another four minutes for the Koreans to restore parity with Eun Bi Cheon finding the target from the top of the circle in the 23rd minute. Suddenly the match was thrown wide open as the Chinese found the Koreans too dangerous on the counter-attacks.
In the 44th minute, an error in the midfield saw the Koreans power through and earn a penalty corner. Jong Eun Kim deflected the ball brilliantly past the Chinese goalkeeper. Korea made it 4-2 the next minute with Jong Hee Kim reverse-flicking home after she ran past a host of Chinese defenders.
China managed to cut the scores to 3-4 in the 48th minute when Lihua Gao struck a beautiful reverse shot.
China pressed for the equaliser but utilising the space given by the home side midfielders, Korea struck their fifth goal in the 64th minute when Mi Hyun Park raced down the right flank, dodged past two defenders and placed the ball into goal past the Chinese goalkeeper.
The Times of India
Japan beat India to claim bronze in Asian Women's CT
ORDOS, (CHINA): India blew away a 2-0 lead as Japan scored a controversial golden goal in extra time off a penalty stroke and snatched the bronze medal in the Asian Women's Champions Trophy on Saturday.
India scored twice by the 28th minute but the Japanese capitalised on Indian errors in the second half to not only equalise but score a golden goal through Ai Murakami to destroy India's dreams of going back home with at least a bronze medal.
India scored through Vandana Katariya (7th) and Rani Rampal (28th), while Japan's scorers were Rika Komazawa (52nd), Kaori Fujio (63rd) and Ai Murakami (76th).
Japan had earned a penalty corner in the 76th minute, which was saved by an Indian defender's stick. However, the umpire pointed for a stroke claiming that the ball had hit the defender. And even though the Indians protested, the stroke stayed.
Unlike, the matches earlier in the group stage, India looked more in control as they moved the ball with confidence.
Asunta Lakra once again kept the forwards fed with passes on both the flanks and through the middle.
India took advantage of Japan's errors in the first half as they made inroads through the middle and used both the flanks effectively.
In the 7th minute, Vandana Katariyan's field attempt sped past the Japanese goalkeeper, who was caught off the line for India to take the lead.
India wasted the first penalty corner as the push wasn't effective enough. But they managed to increase the lead in the 28th minute off the second penalty corner when Rani scored.
Japan, meanwhile, were wilting in the midfield as India pushed forward. At the break, India led 2-0.
Throwing more players upfront, Japan started looking to cut the scores. India still had more of the ball but they were reluctant to release the ball fast enough and gave away counter-attacks in the midfield.
Japan earned their third penalty corner off a counter-attack and Rika Komazawa pushed for goal. With the scores at 1-2, Japan increased the pressure.
India, instead of playing the ball around the flanks, got bogged down in the middle and Japan took more of possession.
When only seven minutes were left, a hard hit from outside the circle was deflected into the Indian goal by Kaori Fujio.
At 2-2, the Indians looked deflated. In the extra time of seven and a half minutes each, Japan had their fourth penalty corner in the 76th minute and the shot hit an Indian defender's stick but the umpire Liu Xiaoying pointed for a stroke claiming that the ball had hit the defender.
Interestingly, the Japanese players were running to the corner for a long corner when the umpire blew for a stroke against India.
The Indian players protested and even after both the umpires consulted, the stroke stayed.
Yogita Bali, the Indian goalkeeper went the right way but Ai Murakami's push had enough power to beat the keeper.
Indian coach CR Kumar was disappointed but said that the umpiring was poor in the match.
"I cannot put everything on umpiring. We need to improve upon our fitness and play more high-intensity matches to be able to compete at the top level," he said.
The Times of India
Indian women lose bronze to Japan
The Indian women's hockey team squandered a two-goal lead and lost 2-3 to Japan in the play-off for the bronze medal of the 2nd Women Asian Champions Trophy here Saturday.
Striker Vandana Kataria put India ahead in the seventh minute while Rani Rampal converted an indirect penalty corner to double the score in the 28th minute.
Japan bounced back after the break and scored through Rika Komazawa (52nd min penalty corner) and Kaori Fujio (63rd min) to make it 2-2 at full time. Ai Murakami scored the golden goal from a penalty stroke (76th min).
India's performance in this match was their best in the tournament. Japan had routed India 5-0 in their round robin preliminary.
India to play attacking game against Pakistan
ORDOS (China): India will display aggressive hockey when they face arch-rivals Pakistan in the final of the first edition of the men's hockey Asian Champions Trophy on Sunday.
India, with a blend of experience and youth in the team, have surprised everybody in the tournament and in their last group tie came back from 0-2 to draw the match against Pakistan.
Indian forwards performed well in the tournament and that was reflected in the +7 goal difference that the team enjoys.
India's newly-appointed coach Michael Nobbs said his team would play an attacking game in the final against Pakistan.
"This team has handled pressure like pros. They needed an incentive and now the team has got it by playing a final. Whatever the result, we will throw everything into the match," Nobbs was quoted as saying by Indianhockey.com.
But what worries the Australian is India's failure to convert penalty corners.
"The problem is not about conversion, it's about the rusher coming directly at the flicker. It's a FIH directive that the rusher should not run directly to the flicker. So what happens is that Pakistan is running straight to the flicker. I will probably have a talk with the umpires and it is clear they are not reviewing the matches. But when our rusher ran straight, the umpire hauled him up. There needs to be a clear consistent line in umpiring," he said.
India captain Rajpal Singh, along with Gurbaz Singh, is the only player with the most experience of playing against Pakistan.
"We haven't lost a match in the tournament. We would play our natural game and attack to get goals," Rajpal was quoted as saying by the website.
Pakistan captain Muhammad Imran said he feels the pressure of an India-Pakistan final.
"The public wants both the countries to win. Unfortunately, only one nation can win and that adds to the pressure. But we will go all out and ensure that good and attacking hockey in the true Asian style is played," he said.
Pakistan team manager Khwaja Junaid is satisfied with the results in the tournament.
"We have performed better here. It will be a tough match in the final but I am satisfied by the way the team performed. We played as per the plan but we will have to be mindful in the final," he said.
The Times of India
Indo-Pak rivalry at forefront in Asian Champions Trophy final
Coach Michael Nobbs and his Indian team have done well to reach the final when short of their star players.
Their confidence sky-high after an unbeaten run in the league stage, a vivacious India will lock horn with arch-rivals Pakistan in what promises to be a cracker of a final in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament here tomorrow.
After their pulsating 2-2 draw in the group match on Friday, the stage is set for another thrilling encounter between the traditional rivals.
In the group match, India fought back after being 0-2 down as both teams played a cautious game intent on reaching the final.
Sunday should see a thriller as both have nothing to lose, though the hockey fans in both the nations would love to see their respective teams to triumph.
India have done well to reach the final. Critics and a host of former players believed that the team without the stars will not be able to deliver. But Michael Nobbs' team has surprised many.
India is the only unbeaten team in the championship and with a goal difference of +7, it is ahead of the others in the scoring department.
The forward line has been India's biggest trump card in the Champions Trophy. From the moment, they beat China 5-0, the momentum was there to piggy back on.
Twice, India has fought back from deficits ?" against Malaysia they were losing 1-2 and drew the match 2-2. Against Pakistan they were down 0-2 and fought back with two goals.
It is that spirit that India would play on in the final against Pakistan.
"This team has handled pressure like pros. They needed an incentive and now the team has got it by playing a final. Whatever the result, we will throw everything into the match," India's coach Nobbs said.
Shoe problem for India ahead of the final against Pakistan
ORDOS, (CHINA): The India hockey team is facing an acute shortage of shoes ahead of the summit clash against Pakistan in the Asian Champions Trophy on Sunday as most of the players have only one pair of shoes for warm-up sessions as well as for matches.
Manjit Kullu, the left half back in the Indian team, has been playing with warm-up shoes in the tournament after his only pair of hockey turf shoes had split into two.
Playing with warm-up shoes is akin to running on ice wearing normal shoes and Manjit is lucky that he has not injured himself till now.
The other Indian player who is without turf shoes is Harpreet Singh.
The turf is slippery here at Ordos and both the players are at constant risk of slipping, which can cause serious injury to them.
Both Manjit and Harpreet have just made it to the senior national team and it is difficult for them to afford shoes as a good pair costs around Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000.
Sources in the team say that the pair provided by the Sports Authority of India are not of good quality and so they don't last long.
On an average, a player uses 3-4 pairs every year.
The Times of India
Youth to the fore
By Jugjet Singh
THE Malaysian national hockey team are getting younger, and finally, boys are seriously challenging ffor positions held by seniors and experienced players.
The healthy competition has resulted in chief coach Tai Beng Hai having a bigger pool to select from, and not just having to rely on those with a good track record in the sport.
The eldest in the squad is goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin at 33, while there are several 18 and 20-year-olds who are already staking a claim.
Beng Hai took a big gamble by blooding Project 2013 players Fitri Saari, 18, and Amir Farid, 20, but it has paid off handsomely in the ongoing Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos.
Amir scored against Pakistan, and then his brace against Japan helped Malaysia reach tantalisingly close to the bronze medal in the inaugural tournament.
"Since the tournament did not offer ranking points, and some of the other teams had also left out their best players for various reasons, I felt that it was a good opportunity to try out new players.
"This also gave seniors who were injured, had personal reasons to skip the tournament, and those who are fighting to keep fit more time to overcome their problems," said Beng Hai.
Team manager Stephen van Huizen, a former national player and coach, is also impressed with the commitment shown by the young players in the squad.
"It was a good decision to allow young players to play in this tournament. Some started shakily but their confidence level grew quite fast and credit also goes to them for working well with the seniors to take the team into the bronze playoff," said van Huizen.
Players like Firhan Ashaari, 18, and Faizal Saari, 20, have almost mastered attacking hockey and this will help Malaysia's cause to finish among the top-four in the South Africa Champions Challenge on Nov 26-Dec 4 .
And then, there is the Olympics Qualifier next year, where Malaysia will be fighting for the single ticket to London 2012, probably in the European continent group.
Today, they face Japan again and after narrowly edging them 3-2 in the pool match on Friday, it is expected to be another close call as Japan are one of the hosts for the three Olympic Qualifiers.
"Japan, under their new Korean coach (Kang Keong-Wook who captained Korea to the silver medal in the Sydney 2000 Olympics), have shown tremendous improvement in this tournament.
"However, we have the team to win bronze, and that is what we will aim for," said van Huizen.
India and Pakistan will play for the gold medal, and after a 2-2 draw in the pool match, the final outcome is too close to call.
TODAY -- Fifth-Sixth: South Korea v China; Third-Fourth: Malaysia v Japan; Final: India v Pakistan.
New Straits Times
Hockey team aim to end campaign with a bang
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey team began their Asian Champions Trophy adventure in Ordos, China, with a whimper, losing their first two matches.
Today, however, they intend to go out with a bang when they take on Japan in the playoff for third placing.
Having beaten the Japanese 3-2 in their last preliminary round match on Friday to achieve their target of finishing in the top four, coach Tai Beng Hai’s men are bent on proving the world rankings right.
Malaysia are ranked 15th and Japan 16th in the world rankings.
Beng Hai expects his men to play better today as “there is no pressure on the team”.
“It will be good to come away with the bronze medal. We have shown that we can play well. The final was out of our reach after we lost the opening two matches against Pakistan and South Korea,” he said.
“But we did well to win two and draw one of the next three matches.
“I do not plan to tinker with the team too much for tomorrow’s match and will rely on the same set of players who have been tried out. We will still register one goalkeeper for the match and give the younger players more playing time.”
That means Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi, the two-goal hero in the win over Japan, is set to start. He was also on target in the first match against Pakistan.
Fitri Saari, another senior team debutant like Amir, may be rested along with goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin.
“We will see how the players feel tomorrow (today) and we will make our selection just before the match,” said Beng Hai.
Whoever he fields, the focus will be on finding an effective strike force.
“We need players who can tuck away the half chances,” said Beng Hai.
The final today pits Pakistan against India while the fifth placing playoff will be between South Korea and China.
The Star of Malaysia
Black Sticks throw away clean sweep vs USA
The women's Black Sticks must recover from a "baptism of fire" to stop a successful series against the United States ending on a sour note.
Having already secured the five-test trip heading into yesterday's fourth game in San Diego, California, coach Mark Hager elected to rest key personnel in order to offer inexperienced squad members some valuable game time.
Unfortunately, Hager said, the rookies failed to deliver on the international stage, allowing the USA to serve up a 5-3 shock.
Tomorrow morning's fifth and final match will see the strongest line-up restored, as Hager attempts to buff out the disappointment of dropping a rare away series whitewash.
"Having won the series, it was an opportunity to expose some of the younger ones, but no excuses," Hager told the Sunday Star-Times yesterday.
"We left out both co-captain Kayla Sharland and Sophie Devine, who has been playing well at the back. We played a lot of the young ones in their place and lost a lot of structure and leadership within the group.
"But we even struggled with basic skills.
"The USA wanted it more, they ran harder and they were more desperate.
"That put us under a lot of pressure in the first half and we didn't handle it very well. Our outlet was poor and we left goalkeeper Amelia Gibson very exposed.
"I'm disappointed, the USA deserved to win. They put their chances away and we struggled to hold possession for long periods of time."
It was positive that some of the younger players had been exposed to international competition, but he hoped they had learnt some valuable lessons.
"Their future careers should be better for it but they've been given a baptism of fire," he said.
"Kayla and Sophie will come back in for the final test and Katie Glynn will probably start too, having not started in this defeat."
One-nil down with seven minutes left in the first half, the Black Sticks conceded two rapid-fire goals to hit half-time 3-0 down.
"The USA deserved their lead at the break," Hager said.
"We were doing OK and then let in two soft goals. When we started pushing to get back into the game we became exposed defensively."
In the second half, a more determined Black Sticks team took to the field and in the 38th minute Glynn converted a penalty corner with a powerful drag flick.
Two minutes later, however, the USA restored their three-goal buffer.
Glynn scored her second goal in the 47th minute, though again the Americans fired back quickly.
New Zealand's Krystal Forgesson had the last say on the score sheet but it wasn't enough to change the game.
The fifth test begins tomorrow at 9am.
Kelburne and Grove on song
Glynhill Kelburne opened their quest for their eighth consecutive title with a comfortable five goal win over VWS Dundee Wanderers at Bellahouston on the opening day of the Subway national league. Alan Forsyth and Gareth Hall gave the champions a two goal lead at the break. Forsyth again, Chris Nelson from a deflection put the game beyond Wanderers who have their keeper Paul Johnston to thank for a series of outstanding saves. Lee Morton from the spot completed the scoring in the final minute.
Western Wildcats went to Dundee for a tricky encounter with Grove Menzieshill, were never ahead at any point, but came away from Tayside with a share of the points in a thrilling 3-3 draw. Menzieshill took an early lead, Gavin Byers took a quick free hit and passed the ball on to Craig Falconer who buried his opportunity. The Wildcats were soon back on level terms when Scott McCartney`s miss-hit shot seemed to deceive Andy Ross in the Menzieshill goal. The Taysiders took a 2-1 lead into the break with a 25 yard and shot from Chris Wilson.
McCartney restored parity just after the interval at the second attempt from a penalty corner, but Ally Irvine put the Taysiders back in front from a rebound following a shot by Wilson. Despite a series of good saves by Ross, the Menzieshill keeper was unable to keep out a set piece shot from Douglas Simpson for the Wildcats` equaliser.
Greaves Clydesdale and AMN Hillhead also served up a thrilling 3-3 draw at Titwood. Gordon Munro and Fraser Hirst whose deflection went in off a defender put the some side in front but Andy Maclaine pulled one back for Hillhead by the interval. Craig Paterson and Jack Chitty gave Hillhead an unexpected 3-2 lead after the interval but a strong run and shot by captain Ross Macpherson secured a well deserved equaliser.
Inverleith started their campaign with a narrow 3-2 win over newly promoted CALA Edinburgh at Meggetland. Inverleith raced into a two goal half time lead, Adam McKenzie scored from a penalty corner to be followed by Lewis Gibson following a goalmouth scramble. When John Harris made it three for Inverleith just after the interval, again following a scramble, it looked curtains for CALA.
As Inverleith relaxed, CALA stepped in up and David Guy cut in to the circle and scored with a reverse stick shot from a very narrow angle. When Guy then rounded Inverleith keeper Graham Stuart for CALA `s second, there was a frantic last ten minutes but Inverleith held out for the three points.
In the women`s league Grove Menzieshill started the defence of their title with a comfortable 4-1 win over Giffnock. The Taysiders took an early through Linda Clement but Giffnock were back on level terms when Lyn Owen deflected home a pass from Rhona Simpson. Just on the interval Grove took a 2-1 lead through a good run and shot from Ali Bell.
Suzy Roberts fired Grove into a 3-1 lead following a drive down the right by Jade Sinton and Bell sealed the points with her own second goal after a cross by Ailsa Wyllie.
An overtime penalty corner strike by Julie Bryce gave VWS Dundee Wanderers a narrow 3-2 win over a valiant Western Wildcats pack. Sam Sangster put Grove in front from a penalty corner but the Wildcats clawed their way back into the contest when Alice McArthur equalised and Laura Caird gave their side an unexpected 2-1 lead at the interval. Two minutes into the second half Vikki Bunce equalised from a drag flick but the winner came at the death, at the set piece retake Bryce controlled the ball at the top of the circle and fired the ball into the net.
Milne Craig Western overcame the tricky away fixture at CALA Edinburgh in some style with a 6-0 win. Nicola Pitticas scored twice while the others came from Anna-Mae Morton, Bethan Mann, Fiona Bruce and captain Catriona Ralph.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Humbled Hockey - Hockey India’s roller-coaster ride
Hockey India’s birth and life has been a tale of struggle within and battles outside. It has had a very tenuous existence with several forces trying to tear it asunder right from Day One.
Though Hockey India (HI) was created by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) at the bidding of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to ensure that the 2010 World Cup stayed put in Delhi, it has been on a roller-coaster ride since then, battling demons within and forces outside to stay afloat.
Hockey India was formed with an ad-hoc administration, headed by then IOA treasurer Ashok Kumar Mattoo, as the head. But it was tough going for him from Day One, as the FIH started threatening that it would pull the World Cup out of Delhi if the HI did not conduct proper elections to put an elected body in place before the tournament, though a private organising committee had been formed to hold the World Cup. Then followed a series of startling developments, cornering HI from all sides.
With IOA president Suresh Kalmadi being busy as chairman of the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games, it was left to the ad-hoc committee to run HI affairs, which Mattoo and Co. found too difficult to handle.
The players attending the World Cup preparatory camp in Pune, under Spanish coach Jose Brasa, struck work in January 2010, demanding that their past dues and incentives be cleared, otherwise they would not attend the camp. The players’ revolt came barely six weeks before the World Cup (February 28-March 13). FIH vice-president Antonio von Ondarza, who was deputed as the observer for the HI elections, tried to mediate and had expressed shock over the development. He felt that “the players should concentrate on training, instead of indulging in pressure tactics”. But the players were unmoved.
Though HI initially took a tough stand, saying that it had an additional list of 22 players and bluntly told the players to give in writing whether they would be attending the camp or not, the players were not willing to backtrack. HI sent a mediator to pacify the players but the stand-off continued and the issue was resolved only when Kalmadi intervened and Sahara Group chairman Subroto Roy came forward to clear the players’ dues amounting to rupees one crore to ensure that the World Cup camp went on smoothly.
Mattoo was upset that he was kept out of the loop in the discussions with the players regarding the final settlement when Kalmadi stepped in and resigned as the head of the ad-hoc committee, giving the HI reins to former president of the Indian Women’s Hockey Federation, Vidya Stokes.
Then began the cumbersome task of bringing the State hockey associations under the HI banner so that proper elections could be held before the World Cup, as demanded by the FIH. But many States had to contend with two hockey bodies -- and Punjab was one of them. When the HI showed no inclination to induct the body headed by former Indian captain Pargat Singh, Punjab raised a banner of revolt, which got backing from the then Sports Minister M.S. Gill.
Eventually, Punjab was given affiliation though it was another matter that Pargat lost the battle of the ballot for the HI president’s post to Stokes, who herself quit soon, adhering to the Government guidelines on age and tenure limit. The elections had to be postponed initially due to a stay order passed by the Rajasthan High Court.
The sexual harassment allegation against women’s team chief coach M.K. Kaushik, rifts among players in the men’s team and chief coach Brasa’s regular battle with the authorities to get the players proper training facilities, all kept the HI on tenterhooks, which reached saturation point when the Sports Ministry de-recognised it when the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) won a decisive court battle, to script another turbulent chapter in Indian hockey.