FIH: Sultan of Johor Cup – Day 2

Day two of the 1oth edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup saw the three teams that won on day one taking on the three teams who lost. The big question was would any of the latter manage to record an opening win in the tournament?

First up was Great Britain again Japan who had to play in the grueling early timeslot for the second day in a row. Great Britain appeared to coast in the second half of their game against South Africa to conserve energy for this match. If that was the case, would it pay dividends?

In hot and humid conditions Japan withstood some early pressure before breaking the deadlock in the 2nd minute of the second quarter when Hiro Saito cut in from the left-hand side, ran unopposed into the circle and struck a powerful reverse stick shot past Demir Erdal; not the best birthday present for the Great Britain goalkeeper.

Just before the half time break Japan doubled their lead. A superb pass from the right-hand side by Jun Watanabe found Tsubasa Tanaka who deflected it home.

Just before the break Great Britain pulled a goal back after great work from Ben Fox along the baseline saw him play the ball across the face of the goal where Max Anderson was on hand to push the ball home.

The second half saw Great Britain launch attack after attack and only valiant defending by Japan and in particular Jun Watanabe and Yamato Kawahara. However, the save of the match came from Kisho Kuroda from a Rory Penrose penalty corner. Having saved the initial shot, the Japanese keeper pulled off an amazing save to deny Fraser Heigh from all of two metres. It would in the end prove to be a match-winning save as Japan held on for a 2-1 victory.   

The second match saw Sultan of Johor debutants South Africa face an Indian team that looked fit, slick, and fast in their opening game against Malaysia. This promised to be a big test for the Africans. Interestingly both of these teams had played no international matches since the Junior World Cup in 2021.

If Japan had caused an upset when South Africa opened the scoring in the 7th minute through Marvin Simons it looked as if it may be a day of upsets, However, India’s Sharda Tiwari converted two penalty corners to give India the lead at quarter time.

That lead increased when captain Uttam Singh scored a field goal in the 17th minute. India took that 3-1 lead into half time.

South Africa came out after the break and completely dominated their opponents. After a series of penalty corners, they finally converted on when Fawaaz Khader scored, soon after captain Sihle Ngubane equalised for South Africa also from a penalty corner.

But a wonderful run and finish by Sudeep restored India’s lead heading into the final break.

South Africa continued to press and in the 49th minute Cameron le Forestier was on hand to deflect home from a well worked penalty corner and South Africa were level again.

With three minutes to go Cameron le Forestier combined with Simons and for the first time since the 10th minute South Africa were ahead.

The drama was not over, as India won a penalty corner and Reece Govender made a great double save to keep his team ahead. When the final whistle sounded South Africa had caused a major upset, victors 5-4.

The final match saw the hosts, Malaysia meet Australia the team they beat to win the very first edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup back in 2011. Malaysia’s last victory over the Australians at this age level came in 2015 at this event, and many were hoping that this young team could repeat the feat.

Unfortunately, that was not the case, and the hosts went down to a record defeat against the Australians at under 21 level, losing 8-0.

It was 0-0 at the end of the first quarter but once Liam Hart opened the scoring in the 19th minute the game became a procession, as Australia mounted attack after attack, and Malaysia’s defence scrambled to keep them at bay. The star for Malaysia was once again their goalkeeper Rafaizul who pulled off a number of great saves to keep the scoreline down.

Australia’s second goal came from Jake Lambeth, Hart scored a second, Jack Holland and Brodie Foster chimed in with goals late in the game, while Cooper Burns recorded the first hat-trick of the tournament.

So, on a day of upsets Australia remain the only unbeaten team, and Malaysia the only team yet to record a victory. Will that change on Tuesday when Australia meet Great Britain and Malaysia play South Africa? In the other match India will meet Japan.

The big question was would any of the latter manage to record an opening win in the tournament?

First up was Great Britain again Japan who had to play in the grueling early timeslot for the second day in a row. Great Britain appeared to coast in the second half of their game against South Africa to conserve energy for this match. If that was the case, would it pay dividends?

In hot and humid conditions Japan withstood some early pressure before breaking the deadlock in the 2nd minute of the second quarter when Hiro Saito cut in from the left-hand side, ran unopposed into the circle and struck a powerful reverse stick shot past Demir Erdal; not the best birthday present for the Great Britain goalkeeper.

Just before the half time break Japan doubled their lead. A superb pass from the right-hand side by Jun Watanabe found Tsubasa Tanaka who deflected it home.

Just before the break Great Britain pulled a goal back after great work from Ben Fox along the baseline saw him play the ball across the face of the goal where Max Anderson was on hand to push the ball home.

The second half saw Great Britain launch attack after attack and only valiant defending by Japan and in particular Jun Watanabe and Yamato Kawahara. However, the save of the match came from Kisho Kuroda from a Rory Penrose penalty corner. Having saved the initial shot, the Japanese keeper pulled off an amazing save to deny Fraser Heigh from all of two metres. It would in the end prove to be a match-winning save as Japan held on for a 2-1 victory.   

The second match saw Sultan of Johor debutants South Africa face an Indian team that looked fit, slick, and fast in their opening game against Malaysia. This promised to be a big test for the Africans. Interestingly both of these teams had played no international matches since the Junior World Cup in 2021.

If Japan had caused an upset when South Africa opened the scoring in the 7th minute through Marvin Simons it looked as if it may be a day of upsets, However, India’s Sharda Tiwari converted two penalty corners to give India the lead at quarter time.

That lead increased when captain Uttam Singh scored a field goal in the 17th minute. India took that 3-1 lead into half time.

South Africa came out after the break and completely dominated their opponents. After a series of penalty corners, they finally converted on when Fawaaz Khader scored, soon after captain Sihle Ngubane equalised for South Africa also from a penalty corner.

But a wonderful run and finish by Sudeep restored India’s lead heading into the final break.

South Africa continued to press and in the 49th minute Cameron le Forestier was on hand to deflect home from a well worked penalty corner and South Africa were level again.

With three minutes to go Cameron le Forestier combined with Simons and for the first time since the 10th minute South Africa were ahead.

The drama was not over, as India won a penalty corner and Reece Govender made a great double save to keep his team ahead. When the final whistle sounded South Africa had caused a major upset, victors 5-4.

The final match saw the hosts, Malaysia meet Australia the team they beat to win the very first edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup back in 2011. Malaysia’s last victory over the Australians at this age level came in 2015 at this event, and many were hoping that this young team could repeat the feat.

Unfortunately, that was not the case, and the hosts went down to a record defeat against the Australians at under 21 level, losing 8-0.

It was 0-0 at the end of the first quarter but once Liam Hart opened the scoring in the 19th minute the game became a procession, as Australia mounted attack after attack, and Malaysia’s defence scrambled to keep them at bay. The star for Malaysia was once again their goalkeeper Rafaizul who pulled off a number of great saves to keep the scoreline down.

Australia’s second goal came from Jake Lambeth, Hart scored a second, Jack Holland and Brodie Foster chimed in with goals late in the game, while Cooper Burns recorded the first hat-trick of the tournament.

So, on a day of upsets Australia remain the only unbeaten team, and Malaysia the only team yet to record a victory. Will that change on Tuesday when Australia meet Great Britain and Malaysia play South Africa? In the other match India will meet Japan.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

SanFair Newsletter

The latest on what’s moving world – delivered straight to your inbox