April 6: Having suffered a poor 4-2 defeat in their first game, Malaysia continued their bad start to this year’s edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament after suffering a narrow 3-2 defeat to Australia in their second match yesterday.
Although it was a Monday night, the Azlan Shah Stadium was half full. Amongst the crowd were a group of schoolchildren noisily cheering on their favourite team.
Jamie Dwyer, 36, score a penalty stroke in the 43rd minute when Ahmad Kazamirul brought down Glen Simpson. Dwyer again broke Malaysian hearts when he scored a field goal in the 53rd minute, he’s the most capped Australian with 323 caps and an old hand in Olympics and World Cups. Dylan Wotherspoon, scored the third goal in the 58th minute for Australia.
Australia the world number 1 hockey team could not score until the last quarter. The Malaysians came back strongly in the last five minutes and managed to score in the 57th minute through a field goal by Mohamed Firhan Azhaari and another in the 59th minute by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin. All the goals came in the fourth quarter of the game. The Malaysian team fought back hard, but just did not have the final push needed to hold Australia to a draw.
According to Malaysian coach Tai Beng Hai, he is happy with the commitment shown in both their matches so far.
“It is not easy to play with the best team in the world, but we gave our best. We knew we had a tough task, but the players did not give up,” he said.
According to Australian coach Graham Reid, he was not surprised by Malaysia’s improved performance as Malaysia always played well in Australia and even willing to ‘die’ for the country.
In other matches yesterday, defending champion Korea trounced Canada 3-1, while New Zealand trounced India with 2-1.
After rest day on Tuesday, the Malaysian team will have 24 hours to recover before they face India in their next match on Wednesday (April 8).