Australia crowned Azlan Shah champions for 7th time
Ipoh: Australia extended their domination in the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament as they bagged their seventh title after a 3-2 win over hosts Malaysia in the summit clash here on Sunday.
In an action-packed final match, Australia`s Trent Milton fired in the winning goal from a pass by Robert Hammond just ahead of the final hooter to stun the 15000-odd Malaysian supporters.
With attack as the watchword, Malaysia pressed for an early goal and Saari Faizal struck from the team`s second penalty corner in the fourth minute.
Stung by the early goal, the Australians struck back and the first move had an air of the typical Aussie assurance. Daniel Mirecki dived for his life to get his lunging stick but not good enough to get the angle right.
Not long after, Daniel Beal found himself in a collision course with Malaysian goalkeeper Kumar and had to be helped out. However, Kumar quickly recovered from the huddle and got back into action.
With Jacob Whetton well bottled up by Malaysian defender Razie Muhammad, the man who did the star turn against New Zealand was not his usual self, much to the team`s chagrin.
Daniel Beal was back in the field and the Aussies tried all their might to get back into the thick of action.
The first penalty corner came their way in the 27th minute when Daniel Beal found his way into the D and the obstruction earned the team the much-needed penalty corner. The drag flick of Nicholas Budgeon was a screaming winner all the way.
Buoyed by the strike, the spring in the Aussie attack gained huge strides. A scrimmage inside the Malaysian D and a quick one-two between Daniel Beal and Craig Boyne found the latter smartly tapping into the goal.
The exasperated Malaysians were clearly feeling the heat with the respite coming in the form of half-time whistle.
Malaysia found the equalizer through Ahmed Tajudin in the 48th minute making good use of the cross from Jalil Muhammad Marhan.