Korea stun Australia 1-0, Pak beat Spain 2-0 in Champions Trophy

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 30 (UNI) Nippy Korea shocked a profligate Australia by a solitary goal to cause the biggest upset of the tournament in a round robin league match of the Samsung Champions Trophy Hockey tournament here today.

Olympic champions Australia failed to score from at least half a dozen chances, including three penalty corners, while their Asian opponents made use of the only penalty corner they got in the match to emerge victorious.

The Kookaburras dominated the goal-less first half with a couple of opportunities coming in their way including a penalty corner.

The ball remained mostly in the Korean half in the first 35 minutes but the Asians defended well and made a few fast counter attacks.

Australia, eight-time champions of the elite tournament, continued their attacking mode in the second session but it were the Koreans who scored in the 55th minute from the lone penalty corner they got. Jang Jong-Hyun slotted a superb flick under the bar to give Korea the lead which turned out to be the decisive goal.

Australia, who beat hosts Malaysia 2-0 in their first match yesterday, pressed hard for the equaliser but failed to convert even the two penalty corners that came their way in the second session.

In the first match of the day, a vastly improved Pakistan left behind yesterday's humiliating 2-5 loss to Germany with a 2-0 victory over Spain.

The South Asian powerhouse were clearly the better side throughout the match against the higher-ranked opponents and could have won it with a bigger margin had not their forwards muffed a few chances and Spain custodian not pulled off some brilliant saves.

In the first half which failed to produce any goal, play was mostly confined in Spain half and their defence were under tremendous pressure. Their goalkeeper Cortes saved at least three attempts by Pakistan forwards in the first 35 minutes, the best was a save of a powerful shot by Shakeel Abbasi in the 29th minute.

Play slowed down a bit in the second session due to heat and humidity and both sides could not penetrate into each other's goal.

Just as the match was meandering towards a draw, Pakistan forward Waqas Sharif broke the deadlock in the 55th minute with a fine deflection inside the circle to the goal.

Akhtar Ali made it 2-0 six minutes later (61st) with a free hit which caught Cortes on the wrong foot.

Spain, who drew with South Korea yesterday, made some last-ditched efforts but failed to score despite getting two penalty corners in the second session.

In another match, defending champions Netherlands were jolted by a surprised lead by a gritty Malaysia before rallying to emerge 3-1 victorious over the hosts.

The Dutch were dominating the match, forcing three penalty corners but Malaysia took the lead in the 19th minute with Kevinder Singh slamming the ball past Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Strachmann.

Taeke Taekema restored parity in the 25th minute, scoring from a penalty corner before last match's two goal scorer against Great Britain Rob Reckers put his team ahead in the 32nd minute to go to the breather 2-1.

After resumption, Netherlands needed just one minute to make a two-goal cushion with Ronald Brouwer (36th) scoring a fine field goal.

Later Malaysia got three penalty coners to the Dutch's one and from one of them hit the post in the 54th minute.

In the fourth match of the day, Germany gave Great Britain their second defeat in the elite tournament with a 4-0 drubbing.


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Story first published: Friday, November 30, 2007, 21:33 [IST]
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