Ireland went 4-1 down to England on Tuesday, March 6, the third day of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Barry Middleton scored the opening goal for England through a penalty corner. Sam Ward then dribbled his way to score a field goal in the 37th minute putting England two up. Two minutes later, Ireland’s Julian Dale replied with a penalty corner shot. The last quarter saw Sam Ward netting the third goal for England followed by a fourth by Barry Middleton.
World’s number one top-ranked team, Australia defeated India 4-2 in the subsequent match. The Kookaburras’ first goal came from skipper Mark Knowles. Team mates Aran Zalewski scored the second in the 35th minute before Daniel Beale struck another three minutes later. The intensity was building up as Blake Govers sounded the board for Australia soon after. In the final quarter, the Indians got their act together by scoring two goals in succession – the 52nd and 53rd minute. Both goals were credited to Ramandeep Singh.
It was a rather profound game for the Speedy Tigers who took on the nippy Argentinians in the third game. The crowd went wild when Tengku Tajuddin fired Malaysia’s first goal in the 20th minute. Najmi Jazlan made it two for Malaysia in the 28th minute. Two minutes into the third quarter, Diego Paz scored Argentina’s solitary goal. The 2-1 score line, in favour of the home team, remained till the end.
Malaysia’s goalkeeper, Hairi Abd Rahman did an outstanding job throughout the match. Fans were relieved when he blunted Argentina’s attempts via penalty corners and a penalty stroke. It was a tough game, as both teams were strong and made numerous attempts at goal. Hairi’s stellar performance earned him the Man of the Match accolade.
“We’re happy with the three points we earned today. The team did a splendid job. We’re constantly learning and, although we’ve not reached the level Argentinians have, we’re getting there. We’ve so much to improve on. It doesn’t matter how we score, whether through a penalty corner or a field goal, so long as we do, I’m delighted,” said Coach Stephen Van Huizen to reporters after the match.
“It’s not a surprise we lost since we’ve played many friendly matches against Malaysia. They’re doing really great. We’ll try to win the next two matches and, at the same time, learn step by step,” remarked Rolando Rivero, Argentina’s coach.
The three scheduled matches on Wednesday, March 7 are as follow: Australia vs Ireland at 4.05 pm, Argentina vs England at 6.05 pm and India vs Malaysia at 8.35 pm. All matches are at the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Stadium Ipoh.