IPOH - New Zealand beat Argentina 1-0 in a tough and thrilling final clash in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup men’s hockey tournament Sunday that bodes well for the Black Sticks in the London Olympics. It is their maiden win in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the team will surely head to London with bigger expectations.
But modest Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod played down the importance of the win as far as the Olympics were concerned. “Sure, it is great to have won our first Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. It is no mean feat considering the opposition we have had to face. But we still have a fair bit of work to do before the Games start in July,” he said.
Meanwhile in the match to decide the bronze medal, India came from a goal down to defeat Britain 3-1. Ashley Jackson opened the scoring in the 35th minute as his penalty corner flick sailed into the goal. But India were undeterred as they created several chances. And they were duly rewarded as Shivendra Singh fired home in the 43rd minute to level the score. Sandeep Singh converted a penalty corner while Tushar Khandker sealed the third spot with a goal for India. South Korea finished in fifth place after defeating host Malaysia 3-2. Asian giants Pakistan finished rock bottom.
Hosts Malaysia are the only team at the tournament not going to the Olympics.
Fairplay Trophy: Great Britain
Best Player of Tournament: Sardar Singh (India)
Best Goalkeeper: Kyle Pontifex (New Zealand)
Top Scorer: Ashley Jackson (Great Britain)
Man of the Final: Kyle Pontifex (New Zealand)
1 New Zealand
4 Great Britain
5 South Korea