Monday, April 13, 2015

New Zealand Lift Sultan Azlan Shah Cup After Beating Australia In Penalty Shootout

IPOH, April 12 (Bernama) -- New Zealand lifted the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after defeating defending champion Australia 3-1 in a penalty shootout after both teams were tied 2-2 in regulation time at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, here Sunday night.

The Kiwis who had lost to Australia 1-3 in their preliminary match, avenged the defeat to clinch the title for only the second time since the inception of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup competition in 1983.

New Zealand shocked the Aussies as early as the fifth minute when Andy Hayward struck from a penalty corner but the tournament's top scorer Jamie Dwyer levelled the tie in the 50th minute.

Hayward once again struck in the 58th minute to put New Zealand in the lead but skipper Mark Knowles forced the match into a penalty shootout with a 60th minute equaliser.

New Zealand's previous victory was in 2012 while Australia has won the cup in 1983, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014. Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Bainun gave away the prizes.

New Zealand coach Colin Batch said he was happy with the performance of his charges, especially during the penalty shootout as the players remained focused and confident.

"It would be nice to have a referral in this match (Sultan Azlan Shah Cup) as the modern game is so quick," he said adding that the last time they beat Australia was in the Olympic Qualifying Round in 2011.

Roll of Honour:

Champion: New Zealand

Runner up: Australia

Best Player: Andy Hayward (New Zealand)

Fair Play Award (Raja Ashman Shah Trophy): Canada

Top scorer: Jamie Dwyer (Australia) (7 goals)

Best Goalkeeper: Devon Manchester (New Zealand)

Man-of-the-match: Mark Knowles (Australia).

-- BERNAMA

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