Asia: Day 04 updated Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2024


Pakistan, fast earning a reputation ‘comeback kings’, lived up to their tag, when they clawed back from two goals down, to register a 5-4 victory over Canada in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh this evening at the Azlan Shah Stadium.

With this win, Pakistan tops the table standings with 10 points and have a game a hand against world No. 10 New Zealand in their last pool match on Friday.

In earlier pool matches, Pakistan worked their way back from 1-3 down against the Malaysians before winning 5-4, and the same scenario existed against Japan in the 1-1 drawn match.

In today’s match, Sean Davies’ field goal in the fifth minute pushed the Canadians, ranked 19 in the FIH World Rankings, ahead against their more superior opponents who are ranked 15.

Forward Harbir Sidhu, with 25 caps under his belt, then added further gloss by scoring the second goal in the 17th minute as the Canadians went 2-0 ahead, leaving Roelant Oltmans Pakistan wondering where did they go wrong.

But Pakistan, the three-time Sultan Azlan Shah Cup champions, clawed their way back into the game with two penalty corner goals within a space of two minutes, leaving goalkeeper Matthew Sarmento caught baffled on the side.

Abu Mahmood stroked home Pakistan first goal in the 28th minute and the second, one minute and 12 seconds remaining to the end of the first half, Arshad Liaqat extended the scoreline to 3-2 (36th), Ashraf Waheed Rana made it 4-2 (44th) and Ghazanfar Ali nailed the fifth (45th).

The Canadians stepped on the gear and closed the gap at 5-3 through a brace from Davies in the 45th minute.


Except for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics Games which the Pakistanis won 7-1 in a pool match, record shows the contest between the two nations have always been close.

In the last 14 meetings, Pakistan won 10 times, Canada three times that included claiming a 6-0 whitewash victory over the former world champions in the 2017 Hockey World League semi-finals in London, and drawn once.


“Let’s give credit to Canada. They played a good game and gave us a hard time today. We were only able to comeback in the second quarter after being 2-0 down. Although we led 5-3, the pressure was still on us. And we had so many chances to score and even had 11 penalty corner opportunities. At this moment we have not thought of the last pool match against New Zealand on Friday.”


“I thought we started pretty well and were fortunate to get some good moments. It was a tough competition in the second and fourth quarters, as we came under a lot of pressure too, but I am happy with the commitment given by the players.

It was a good score, but it could have been a little different and in our favour, if the players had kept the game in control and not lose focus against Pakistan. We play Japan on Friday and I hope the team plays as well as they did today.”


New Zealand regained some form of pride after bouncing back from the nightmarish 4-6 defeat against host Malaysia on Monday night, to seal a respectable 4-1 victory over South Korea in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh tonight.

The match was initially interrupted by a heavy downpour after one minute and 15 seconds of proceedings in the first quarter. It resumed after a wait of one hour.

The Black Sticks, who won the tournament in 2012 and 2015, grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first half with goals from Gorge Baker (4th minute), Jonty Elmes (18th minute) and Jake Smith’s 23rd minute penalty stroke conversion.

Defender Sim Jaewon gave hope of a Korea comeback by converting a penalty corner in the 39th minute. The Kiwis piled the pressure on the Koreans and earned their second penalty corner in the 55th minute and Isaac Houlbrooke converted to give his side a 4-1 lead.

New Zealand, who play Pakistan in their last pool match on Friday, amassed six points from four matches and are placed fourth in the table standings – four points behind Pakistan (10 points), Japan (7 points) and Malaysia (6) while the Canadians have yet to win a match.



“It was a long game. We started like 3 hours ago. I think we put a hard priority on adapting the weather which we are preparing for Paris Olympics, adapting on whatever that comes our way.

The team responded very well today and played a good first half. Second half was a little bit sluggish. It was the right decision by the Technical Delegate to continue this match despite the long delay and obviously we got the right results.

Tomorrow we will play Pakistan, and it is another Test match. We have to step up our game. I am confident New Zealand can put an end to Pakistan’s unbeaten run. We want to put some momentum in this game and end our pool matches on a high note”


“We had a much better game in the third and fourth quarter. There wer0e some mistakes we did early in the game and that caused us to go down by three goals.

Our next game is against host Malaysia and it is going to be a tough match. Malaysia is a very strong team and the players are very fast. We will strengthen our defence and not allow the Malaysians much space to move and score.


The national men’s hockey squad, which has one more game left for the 2024 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (PSAS) round-robin action, wants to close it with a win tomorrow.

Whatever result will be achieved against South Korea, does not mean anything for the Speedy Tigers as the chance to reach the final has been closed.

The maximum points that Malaysia can achieve is nine points if they win against the 11th ranked team in the world, South Korea, while Pakistan and Japan have already collected 10 points after the end of the fourth match yesterday.

Therefore, Malaysia will only play in the third/fourth place decider against New Zealand this Saturday.

Malaysia, who are the reigning champions of the cup, however managed to achieve the target set by the coaching line which Speedy Tigers assistant coach, Mohamad Sukri Abdul Mutalib previously voiced, which is the top four position as their target.

It is considered a realistic target following Speedy Tigers is a ‘new-look’ team and it was formed from March 19 under the management of Sarjit Singh.

Returning to the match against South Korea, Sarjit insisted that not many changes will be made and the team will play as usual.

The most important thing he wants to see in this tournament, remains the same, which is to demand full seriousness and commitment from all players.


“We need to continue to maintain a good spirit and keep playing as usual. The game (against Japan) all the players played well and you could see the last minute of the game they wanted a goal.

“A win against South Korea will give us nine points and will play in the third and fourth qualifiers.

“After a few years I came back as a coach, this is a learning process and we will get better from time to time,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan and Japan have confirmed their places in the finals of the title race after maintaining an unbeaten run in four matches with a total of 10 points.

As for tomorrow’s action, Pakistan will face difficulties in maintaining the winning momentum when they face New Zealand at 4 pm.

Pakistan coach, Roelant Oltmans does not want to put any pressure on the players when going down against the Black Sticks team.

“Honestly, when you (the media) look at the statistics of the two matches when New Zealand lost, the number of chances they had were many but the results were not in their favour.

“They are a strong team…the most important thing for me is that we will stay focused on improving our game to be better,” he said.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s coach, Greg Nicol, is confident of ending Pakistan’s ‘unbeaten’ record.

Meanwhile, Japan is seen to have no problem overcoming Canada in the last action of the round and they can already make arrangements in planning the best strategy in the final this Saturday, in order to achieve the goal of becoming champions.

by Asia Hockey


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