New Zealand makes Sultan Azlan Shah final
New Zealand makes Sultan Azlan Shah final
The Kiwis had the game all but sewn up by half time, racing to a 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Ryan Archibald, Shea McAleese and Nick Wilson.
The Malaysians pulled a goal back through Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi in the 45th minute to give them a glimmer of hope but the match was eventually put beyond their reach with a Shay Neal goal to make it 4-1.
Malaysia’s defeat mean they cannot qualify for the final as they are four points behind second place Argentina who they meet in the final round.
The South Americans will be vying to add to their nine points to secure the right to play New Zealand, who have previously never made it further than third place, in the tournament, which is an important warm-up for the London Olympics.
Former champions India defeated Asian Games winners and arch rivals Pakistan 2-1 but their chances to reach the final have virtually gone with only one more day of preliminary round matches on Saturday.
India’s win over Pakistan was their 50th in 152 meetings and was a morale booster with Pakistan, last year’s runners-up, facing their worst performance ever in the cup as they have fallen to the bottom of the table.
Pakistan team manager Akhtar Rasool said it was not his side’s day.
“India was fortunate to score in the final minute, and it was a momentary lapse in concentration that cost us dearly,” he said.
“We have always maintained that we are here to learn and correct our mistakes ahead of the Olympics... We just have to be patient.” There was no fancy play by either side in the match played under a steady drizzle. Sandeep Singh gave India the lead when they were awarded a penalty corner in the 31st minute.
Pakistan dominated the start of second half but their finishing was woefully off for the most part until they equalized in the 61st minute when Sohail Abbas sent a low drag flick into the goal.
But just as the match was heading for a draw, Sunil Sowmarpet scored in the 69th minute, giving India a crucial win.
“We deserve the win based on our performance and discipline in defense,” Indian coach Michael Nobbs said. “The timely tackles and tactical discipline helped us through this match.” Earlier, favorites Britain were held to a 1-1 draw by South Korea.
FROM: AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Iranian fans attempt to disrupt Portugal’s sleep at hotel
- Hundreds of Iranian fans spent several overnight hours surrounding the hotel where Portugal’s national team is based
- Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was filmed by Portuguese TV RTP late at night by the window using gestures to ask the Iranian fans to be silent
SARANSK: Hundreds of Iranian fans spent several overnight hours surrounding the hotel where Portugal’s national team is based, making loud noises in an attempt to disrupt their opponents’ sleep before a decisive World Cup match later Monday.
Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was filmed by Portuguese TV RTP late at night by the window using gestures to ask the Iranian fans to be silent, but Monday morning there were still a few dozen of them playing loud music near the hotel in the Saransk city center.
Iran can only advance to the next stage of the World Cup if it beats the European champions. Portugal only needs a draw, but also aims to take the top position in Group B ahead of Spain.
Saransk police said they received their first calls about the noise about 11 p.m. Sunday, when a first wave of Iran fans arrived and started singing outside the hotel. That forced Ronaldo to show up, which convinced supporters to leave.
Then a second wave came and did not stop making noise for several hours. Police then blocked roads nearby, but the main avenue across the hotel was still open, which allowed Iran fans to keep their effort in smaller numbers.
Iran fan and IT consultant Mehdi Fayez arrived Monday morning after reading messages from supporters saying they needed to trouble Portugal to stand a better chance of winning the match.
“I love Ronaldo, I love Portugal, but this is a big game. We have to do all it takes,” a still joyful Fayez said, as he held an Iranian flag on the back of his head.
Montreh Fayoud, one of the several Iranian women that are attending their first World Cup, disagreed.
“We were coming back from dinner and saw all these Iranians here. When I found the reason, I decided to leave,” she said.
At about noon on Monday Portugal players had a quick walk around the hotel, but it is uncertain whether they will walk around the city as they did before other matches in Russia.