Australia hammer Pakistan 6-0 in Azlan Shah Cup

IPOH - Australia brightened their chances of making the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after crushing Pakistan 6-0 for their second consecutive win in the tournament, on Sunday.In other matches of the day, Korea defeated India 2-1 to register their first win in the tournament while Malaysia defied world rankings to defeat New Zealand 2-1 to maintain a perfect start to the tournament.Australia proved too hot for Pakistan to handle as the world champions scored through Daniel Mirecki (8th minute), Matt Gohdes (9th minute), Jacob Whetton (19th, 34th minute) in the first half. In the second half, two penalty corner conversions by Daniel Beale and Nicholas Budgeon in the 45th and 60th minutes respectively sealed the fate of the Asian giants. With wins over India and Pakistan, the Hockeyroos are well on course to seal a place in the final on March 17."Though it is an impressive scoreline, our performance is still not up to mark and we need to do better," said Australian coach Ric Charlesworth. "The finishing was good I admit but we must not look into the result and say we are better than Pakistan as scorelines are at times close and they did not have some key players in defence and that makes a whole lot of difference. We are up against Malaysia next and they are an experienced side and I expect a close match. They have things going for them as they get to play matches at 8.00pm and the crowd is amazing as well."Pakistan were a beaten side and it showed as the players kept looking at the clock, hoping for an end to their misery. "Imran had a poor game in goal and it was the same in the first match. So we have to make changes against India and the goalkeeper will be one of them," said Pakistan coach Akhtar Rasool. "No excuses as we lost to a better team and our defence was a let down as we gave them too much space and respect."Kaorea and India had lost their opening matches, with India going down 4-3 at the hands of Australia while Korea were beaten 3-2 via a final minute goal by Malaysia. Thus it was vital for both teams to get a win to put their challenge back on track. And the Koreans looked the more determined side in the opening half.However India lifted their game after the breather but paid the price for failing to take their chances. "We played well but did not get the desired result. But I expect the team to improve and correct the mistakes they are doing,”' said Indian team manager Roelant Oltmans."We were at sea in the first half but had a better second half and the fact that we had six penalty corners while conceding none outlines our domination in the second half. The tournament is far from over and playing Pakistan in our next game requires some planning as they have experienced players."The Koreans dominated proceedings and the agile Indian custodian PR Sreejest kept them at bay, making some saves that were almost impossible. Korea made it count from their second penalty corner as Nam Hyun Woo relayed the ball to the right for Kang Moon Kweon to deflect it into the roof of the India goal in the 29th minute.India were on level terms four minutes upon resumption, thanks to some great work by Mndeep Singh on the right who evaded two defenders before setting up Malak Singh to tap into an empty goal. A long hit by Jung Man Jae was met by a lurking Kang whose deft touch caught Sreejesh for Korea to lead 2-1.The Kiwis are ranked sixth in the FIH current rankings with Malaysia a lowly 13th, but Malaysia upstaged their rivals with a display that had guts, courage and tactical discipline. Malaysia edged Korea 3-2 in their opening match on Saturday and the win today gives them six points and second spot in the standings as the tournament takes a day's break on Monday.Malaysia opened scoring in the 40th minute when Marhan charged down the right and squared the ball to Chua, who had the presence of mind to flick the ball into the roof of the net. Malaysia has umpire Harsha Vardhan Gandham of India to thank for playing a good advantage as he had signalled for a penalty corner but followed through the whistling to award a goal.Four minutes later a deflection by Tengku Ahmad hit Andy Hayward and sailed into goal, catching New Zealand keeper Devon Manchester on the wrong foot. And the stadium erupted with joy as Malaysia were on their way to victory.New Zealand reduced the deficit in the 65th minute as Shay Neal dived full length to turn in a pass from Andy Hayward of their second penalty corner. But Malaysia kept their composure to register their second win.
Points tableTeamsPlayedWinsDrawLostGFGAPointsAustralia22001036Malaysia2200536Korea2101443Pakistan2101493India2002460New Zealand2002460

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