Team
Played Points
1 Australia 7 21
2 New Zealand 7 12
3 India 7 12
4 Malaysia 7 9
5 Pakistan 7 9
6 Canada 7 5
7 Japan 6 0
1499499
Today
Yesterday
This Week
Last Week
This Month
Last Month
All days
1179
1061
5286
1488689
22906
16351
1499499

Your IP: 54.145.198.123
Server Time: 2017-03-30 14:38:12

The finalists for the 22nd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will only be determined after the dust settles following the final league matches on Saturday.

As it stands Australia and Malaysia are in the driving seat, both with 8 points but Australia with a superior goal difference of plus 8 while Malaysia are on plus 2.

Both the teams need a draw in their final matches, Australia against New Zealand and Malaysia against India to book their places in the final.

A win for New Zealand and a Malaysian defeat will see the two Oceania countries contesting the final on Sunday.

From the three teams in contention for the final berths, Malaysia is in the best situation as they play the last match against India on Saturday and will know what is expected of them.

That fact was not lost on coach Paul Revington and when asked if Malaysia will not field its first team against India should qualification to the final was assured, had this to say.

"We will play our best players immaterial of the outcome of the Australia v New Zealand match. There is no question of toying with the line-up or resting players with one eye on the final. It is still too early to talk about it as we have to cross a big hurdle in our quest to make the final on Sunday."

Malaysia could have sealed its spot in the final had they defeated Pakistan in a match that ended up in a 2-2 draw after Malaysia had twice taken the lead.

Revington added that the Malaysian players had made some crucial mistakes in defence that allowed Pakistan back into the match twice.

"When we were 2-1 up the players knew there were six minutes remaining and we went out looking for the third goal, but it never came dspite us creating enough chances to seal the match," added Revington.

"Six minutes is a long time to just defend a one goal lead and thus there was nothing wrong with our tactics.

"We may need one point but we will play to win all three. It is important to maintain our consistency and not let our guard down."

Malaysia last played India during the AHF Champions Trophy in Doha in December and won 5-3, after takinga 4-0 lead at one stage. Thus the odds are in favour of Malaysia winning the match given that India has an inexperienced team.

"It is good that our young team is placed in such a situation where they have to deny the host team of a place in the final." said India coach Michael Nobbs.

"The pressure cooker situation that our players will face will help them mature faster as the crowd will no doubt put tremendous pressure on our youngsters.

"I am happy that the Indian team has been improving from match to match and we look forward to the match on Saturday. We too need a win to get us into the bronze medal play-off, thus we will play our best team."

New Zealand can sneak into the final if they defeat Australia, something they last did on 6th October 2011 in Hobart, a 3-0 win over the Aussies in the Oceania Cup.

"Matches between the two countries are always keenly contested and what more with a berth in the final at stake," said New Zealand coach Colin Batch who used to represent Austrlia and a member of the Aussie squad that won the inaugural Azlan Shah Cup in 1983.

"We are here to defend the title and beating Australia to make the final may seem a tall order but if that is what is required then we are up to the challenge. They have a young side as well and its a question on just who will be able to take their chances."

Austrlian coach Ric Charlesworth was not too happy with the umpiring in the tournament thus far and decided to let it out at the post match press conference after the 3-3 draw against Korea.

:It is much to be desired ( the umpiring) and really something ought to be done to introduce the video referral here in Ipoh," said Charlesworth.

"Playing the Kiwis is always a tough one and the stakes are much higher this time around as a place in the final is at stake.

"New Zealand are peaking well and we have drawn our last two matches and really a draw is as good as a defeat. This is for FIH to have a look at as a team can end up unbeaten in a tournament yet miss out of a place in the final."