Aussies, Dutch draw; England upsets Germany

Updated 03 December 2012
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Aussies, Dutch draw; England upsets Germany

MELBOURNE: Field hockey powerhouses Australia and the Netherlands played out a scoreless draw to keep open the fight for top spot in Pool B at the Champions Trophy in Melbourne yesterday.
In the day’s other matches, England created history by defeating Germany for the first time at the eight-nation tournament 4-1, while Pakistan looked impressive in downing Belgium 2-0.
India remained unbeaten in Pool A following their 4-2 win over New Zealand in the day’s late game.
The draw means that Australia, the Dutch and Pakistan can all still finish on top of their pool with one more round of matches remaining tomorrow ahead of Thursday’s quarterfinals.
No. 2 ranked Australia will be particularly frustrated with the result given they dominated much of the game, failing to convert numerous penalty corner opportunities against third-rated Dutch.
Having eight penalty corners to only one, Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann proved to be the difference, producing several magnificent saves.
Australian penalty corner specialist Kieran Govers said: “We need to make more of our chances, we are creating them but the goalkeeper had a good game but that is no excuse.
“We still need to put some goals in after the number of circle penetrations we had.”
Stockmann said despite his brilliant game he was disappointed his team didn’t come away with the win.
“Zero goals against is always the goal for a goalkeeper, but it is a team performance and we didn’t win so that is disappointing,” he said.
Earlier England pulled off an upset against the world No. 1 Germans.
It was the first time England had defeated Germany at the Champions Trophy and they controlled the match from the opening whistle, scoring their first goal through Adam Dixon on six minutes.
England continued to press the Olympic champions and scored again through Harry Martin in the 10th minute.
Things improved slightly when Germany pulled one back four minutes later through an own goal, but England regained their two-goal buffer with an own goal two minutes before half time and rounded it off with a fourth goal to Darren Cheesman.

“You have never seen a bad German team. Whatever tournament they go to however experimental it is they are a good team,” England captain Barry Middleton said.
Pakistan made amends for Saturday’s disappointing 3-1 loss to the Netherlands by overcoming Belgium.
The result leaves the Belgians as the only winless team in Pool B while Pakistan still have a chance to finish on top of the pool.
After a goalless first half, Pakistan lifted their tempo after half time, and a goal to Abdul Haseem Khan was followed by another from Shafqat Rasool to put the result beyond doubt.
“Yesterday we actually played good hockey but we missed our chances. Today we missed some chances but we managed to score as well, so this is very good experience for our young players,” Shakeel Abbasi said.
India are in the box seat to finish on top of Pool A after defeating New Zealand and will do so if they defeat Germany in their final pool match tomorrow.
After conceding the opening goal from a costly turn over, India dominated the remainder of the first half to take a 3-1 half-time lead.
New Zealand hit back early in the second half with a brilliant goal to Nicholas Wilson, however a goal to Danish Mujtaba in the dying minutes ensured India remained undefeated.
“We aren’t here to be spectators. We want to prove that we deserve to be here and we deserve to be up at the top, and that is where we are heading,” Indian coach Michael Nobbs said.
In Tuesday’s final pool games, New Zealand take on England, Belgium play Netherlands, Germany meet India and Australia face up to Pakistan.


What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

Updated 19 April 2018
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What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

  • Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
  • Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.

Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.

 



AL-HILAL

Finished: Champions

Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.

Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.

Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League

 



AL-AHLI

Finished: Second

Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.

Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.

Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.


 
AL-NASSR

Finished: Third

Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.

Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.

Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into  the 2019 AFC Champions League.

 


AL-ITTIHAD

Finished: Ninth

Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.

Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.

Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.