Roaring success as Malaysia lift Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for first time

IPOH – The national hockey team made history when they lifted the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for the first time after defeating South Korea 3-2 in a tense final at the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Stadium here last night.

The win enabled the Speedy Tigers to end a 39-year wait for the title, which they missed out on when they lost 8-3 to Australia in the final of the 2014 edition.

Today’s victory for coach A. Arul Selvaraj’s men also avenged the 2-1 defeat by South Korea that wrecked Malaysia’s hopes of winning the Asia Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia in May.

In tonight’s showdown, Malaysia shot ahead in the 14th minute through a field goal by Shello Silverius, but their joy was shortlived when South Korea equalised a minute later through a Jang Jonghyun penalty corner goal.

Undaunted, world number 10 Malaysia continued to push forward and their efforts paid off when referee Raghu Prasad rewarded the Speedy Tiers with a penalty stroke in the 44th minute, which Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim cooly placed past South Korea goalkeeper Kim Jaehyeon.

Although world number 12 South Korea then went on the offensive in search of an equaliser, the Malaysian defence, ably led by Muhammad Hafizuddin Othman, managed to keep them at bay.

With South Korea pushing up, Malaysia managed to breach their defence again in the 47th minute through a Muhammad Aminuddin Mohd Zain field goal before coach Kim Byung Hoon’s men reduced the deficit in the 57th minute through a Jeon Byungjin penalty corner goal.

But it proved too little, too late as Malaysia held on for a memorable and historic win.

Malaysia’s best achievement previously in the tournament, which began in 1983, was finishing as runners-up five times – in 1985, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014.

The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah presented the Malaysian team with the trophy.

Yesterday, Pakistan finished third after beating Japan 5-3 while in the fifth-sixth placing match earlier, Egypt scored an upset 2-1 win over South Africa. – Bernama

Roll of Honour:

Champions: Malaysia

Runners-up: South Korea

Third: Pakistan

Man of the Final: Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim (Malaysia)

Best Goalkeeper: Muhammad Hafizuddin Othman (Malaysia)

Top Scorer: Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim (17 goals) (Malaysia)

Player of the Tournament: Shello Silverius (Malaysia)

Fair Play (Raja Ashman Shah Trophy): Japan