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Hockey: Korea to face Canada in Champions Challenge 1 final

Korea (red) beat Ireland 2-1 to progress to the final of the Pahang Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan, on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Photos: FIH.

Korea (in red) beat Ireland 2-1 to reach the final of the Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan, Malaysia. Photos: FIH.

May 4, 2014: Asian champions Korea beat Ireland 2-1 on Saturday evening to reach the final of the Pahang Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan, where they will face a Canada side who edged hosts Malaysia 5-4 in a dramatic shootout in the first semi-final.

 

Korea started quickly against Canada and forced their first penalty corner within a minute. Irish goalkeeper David Harte was forced to parry three shots in a row, but after another penalty corner was awarded, Korea’s top scorer Jang Jong-hyun made no mistake with his dragflick, firing it underneath the crossbar to give his team the lead.

 

20140503_GIMG2174R_300In the 53rd minute, Korea forced their third penalty corner to double their lead, although this time they showed a variation with Hyun Hye-sung (53’) flicking the ball into the net. Chris Cargo’s 64th-minute goal gave Ireland hope, but Korea managed to run the clock down, as coach Shin Seok-kyo celebrated an important win.

 

“This was a difficult game, but I’m happy that we won it. Ireland have a good team with a great goalkeeper and they were defending really well,” Shin said, before turning his attention to the final. “Canada have good individual skills. We want to win because we want to play the 2016 Champions Trophy.”

 

Canada defeated Malaysia in a dramatic shootout after the teams drew 2-2 in regulation, when the hosts gave up a two-goal lead.

 

Canada celebrate a dramatic shootout win over hosts Malaysia in the first semi-final.

Canada celebrate a dramatic shootout win over hosts Malaysia in the first semi-final.

Malaysia forced an early penalty corner when Fitri Saari found a Canadian foot in the circle and his brother Faizal Saari fired home to give Malaysia the lead in the third minute.

 

The hosts focused on counter-attacking and a breakaway led to a second goal in the 15th minute, when Ismail Abu shot home from close range. Canada struck back in the 21st minute as team-captain Scott Tupper scored his fourth goal in the tournament.

 

In the 60th minute, despite Sukhi Panesar’s red card suspension, a 10-man Canada equalised from their fourth penalty corner when Tupper’s flick found its way into the net.

 

The shootout was a dramatic affair, with the teams tied at 2-2 after five attempts. The shootout continued as a one-on-one competition, with the 16th attempt proving the winner. After Fitri Saari was denied, Adam Froese scored for Canada to lift his team into the gold-medal match.

 

Canada coach Anthony Farry was delighted with his team’s ability to come back from two goals down. “We tried to stop Malaysia’s individual brilliance. We started the match under immense pressure, so full credit to our guys to hold on.”

 

Malaysia coach Muhammad Dhaarma Raj hopes the home fans will again get behind their side as the ‘Speedy Tigers’ face Ireland’s ‘Green Machine’ in the bronze-medal match.

 

“I am proud of my players,” he said. “They played well, but unfortunately we lost in the shoot-out. We will do our best in the bronze-medal match, as we want to finish as high as possible.”

 

Source: FIH

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