Malaysia’s dream of collecting full points was shattered when it played to a 2-2 draw with Canada in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2016 Hockey Tournament at the Azlan Shah Hockey Stadium, Ipoh last night, Tuesday, April 12.
Despite exhibiting enthusiasm from the start of the game, luck was not on the side of Stephen van Huizen’s players when pressured by Canada’s very determined players.
The home team began with a fiery start and won two corner penalty shots in succession but they bore no fruits.
Instead Canada was successful in scoring the first goal when its captain, Scott Tupper scored from a penalty corner.
Malaysia retaliated and their efforts paid dividends when Shahril Saabah netted a goal thus equalising the score eight minutes later. Malaysia was in the forefront for a moment in the third quarter when Nabil Noor scored in the 1st minute of the third quarter making it 2-1.
However Canada, one of the four teams that have qualified for the Rio Olympics, refused to back down and was rewarded with a field goal by Matthew Guest in the 15th minute of the third quarter. The 2-2 draw remained till the final whistle.
In an earlier match, India defeated traditional rival Pakistan 5-1 to continue the challenge. The Indians are now in second spot behind the Aussies after collecting nine points from four matches.
The World seventh-ranked team, who too has qualified for the Rio Olympics, was leading 2-1 in the first half.
Manpreet Singh scored in the fourth minute but Muhammad Irfan levelled the score four minutes later. Fans had expected it to be a closely-fought match between the two Asian hockey giants but Sunil Sowmarpet, Talwinder Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh dashed the Pakistanis’ hopes of a good showing.