Canada beat Malaysia in Champions Challenge opener
Johannesburg: Canada made a positive start to their men`s Champions Challenge hockey tournament campaign, beating Malaysia 3-1 in the opening match here today.
Sukhwinder Singh (40th minute) and Iain Smythe (63rd) scored two second half goals for Canada after Scott Tupper put them ahead in the eighth minute of the Pool B encounter.
For Malaysia, Amin Rahim (32nd) scored the lone goal.
The Canadians were the first to seize the initiative and broke the deadlock as early as in the eighth minute from their second second penalty corner with Tupper scoring through a grounded drag-flick that beat Malaysian custodian Kumar Subramaniam all ends up.
But Malaysia fought back and managed to draw level just three minutes from the breather through Rahim, who breached the Canadian defence with a rising drag-flick.
But it was all Canada in the second half as they dominated the proceedings, scoring twice and creating two more openings that got wasted as the Malaysians fell back to defend stoutly.
Five minutes into the second half, Sukhwinder`s flash strike from the edge of the box put Canada ahead, and Smythe then dashed Malaysian hopes with a 63rd minute deflection into the boards past a flustered defence.
Malaysia`s efforts were also hampered by some water puddles on top of the Canadian circle that stopped the strikers in their tracks as the ball lost momentum.
Canada, whose loss to Argentina in the Pan-American competition, has denied them a direct entry into London Olympics, is preparing for the Olympic qualifying competition in New Delhi next year, where hosts India will be their main opponent.
Malaysia, on the other hand, is currently preparing for the Olympic qualifying event to be played in Ireland , where former Olympic silver medallist South Korea will be the team to beat.