29 Mar Malaysia , Canada eye podium finish
A podium finish awaits Malaysia or Canada as they clash for a second time in 24 hours at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. But this time the match at the Azlan Shah Stadium on Saturday will be for third placing.
For Malaysia and Canada, the tournament offers a chance to gauge each other ahead of the World series final in Kuala Lumpur next month.
Malaysia ended the preliminary round with three wins while Canada had two. On Friday the Malaysians defeated Canada 3-2.
There can be no two teams with different styles or approaches than Canada and Malaysia. Malaysia has a good all-around skill and their quick counter-attacks can be quite effective.
Canada on the other build up their attacks slowly from down and hit hard through the center. They have a good ability to get penalty corners and are also effective in their execution through Gordon Johnston.
Thus, the midfielders at both ends have a lot of work to do. One thing is clear looking at the first game, the team that can take its chances well will have the edge.
Malaysia has a good attacking play but often at the other end, give away too many chances. Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans is convinced that they can play better hockey and take the second match as well.
“We won this match and tomorrow will be a different altogether. We will analyse the match and see what sort of changes needed to be done.
“The performance in this match was better than what we achieved against South Korea. So that is an improvement,” he added.
Canadian coach Paul Bundy said that it will be a close match and that the chances that come will be few at both ends.
“It was a good first match and we are looking forward to round two. The Malaysians use their individual skills to good use and were strong in the third and fourth quarters. We will have to look at our game plan again and see how to contain them in the next match,” he said.
In their last preliminary round match against Canada, the Malaysians opened the scoring in the sixth minute through Mohamed Firhan Azhaari from a field attempt. Mohamed Razie Rahim added the second from their first penalty corner in the 17th minute.
Malaysia’s second penalty corner in the 23rd minute was also fruitful. It resulted in a penalty stroke which was duly converted by Fitri Saari.
Gordon Johnston scored both Canada’s goals off the penalty corner in the 15th and 22nd minutes.