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Hockey: Korea win Champions Challenge 1; Malaysia bag bronze


Asian champions Korea beat Canada 4-0 to win the Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan, Malaysia, securing their first success in the tournament and a place in the 2016 Champions Trophy. Photos: FIH.

May 4, 2014: Tournament top scorer Jang Jong-hyun scored twice as Asian Champions Korea Republic crushed Canada 4-0 to win the Pahang Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan and qualify for the 2016 Champions Trophy.


Hosts Malaysia beat Ireland 4-2 in the bronze-medal match, while New Zealand beat France 6-3 to finish fifth and Japan beat Poland 3-2 to secure seventh place in the eight-team event at Stadium Wisma Belia.


Korea, the world’s seventh-ranked side, enjoyed their first victory in the Champions Challenge in their fourth participation, while Canada’s previous best result was two years ago, when they finished sixth in Quilmes, Argentina.


Korea coach Shin Seok-kyo said: “We are very happy with this win because it’s a long time ago that Korea played in a Champions Trophy. Qualifying for the Champions Trophy means a lot to us because we know that we can only improve if we play against the best teams in the world.”


Korea created their first promising opportunity when Kang Moon-kweon shot from close range in the eighth minute, but Canada keeper David Carter was able to save.


However, Carter was beaten in the 10th minute when Jang scored from a penalty corner and Korea doubled their lead just three minutes later through Kim Young-jin. Canada’s first chance arrived in the 42nd minute when Scott Tupper’s penalty corner shot was blocked.


In the 56th minute, Jang made it 3-0 when he converted a penalty stroke, which was awarded for Carter’s challenge on Korea captain Lee Seung-il. Jang’s second goal of the match made him the tournament’s top scorer with eight goals. Kim Seong-kyu rounded out the scoring in the 69th minute.


In the penultimate match, late strikes from Malaysia captain Azlan Misron and Firhan Ashari helped the hosts beat Ireland and win their first Champions Challenge medal.


Malaysia delighted home fans by beating Ireland in the third-place playoff to win a medal in the Champions Challenge for the first time. Photos: FIH.

Malaysia delighted home fans by beating Ireland in the third-place playoff to win a first medal in the Champions Challenge.

Malaysia’s first attack led to a penalty stroke which was converted by Ahmad Nasruddin in the seventh minute and four minutes later Muhammad Baharom converted a counter-attack to make it 2-0, much to the delight of the noisy crowd.


Ireland pulled one back in the 22nd minute when Paul Gleghorne deflected the ball past keeper S. Kumar and the ‘Green Machine’ equalised in the 43rd minute when Chris Cargo slotted the ball from close range.


With minutes left, Malaysia forced a penalty corner, which resulted in Ireland keeper David Harte deflecting the ball over the baseline. The ‘Speedy Tigers’ were quick to bring it back into action and Mishron picked it up and scored with four minutes remaining. As Ireland pushed for an equaliser, a classic counter-attack led to Ashari scoring in the last seconds of the match.


Player of the Tournament: Jang Jong-hyun (Korea)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: David Harte (Ireland)
Best Junior Player of the Tournament: Gabriel Ho-Garcia (Canada)
Top scorer: Jang Jong-hyun (Korea) – 8 goals


Source: FIH

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