October 22 in Johor, Malaysia. The Sultan of Johor Cup is a prestigious annual under-21 men’s field hockey tournament held in Malaysia since 2011. The previous two editions (2020 – 2021) were cancelled due to COVID-19.
The Sultan Johor Cup 2022, the 10th edition of the junior field hockey tournament, will feature six teams (India, Great Britain, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, and South Africa) competing for the title.
In the preliminary round, each team will face the other in a round-robin format. Once all matches are completed, the top two teams will face each other for the coveted trophy.
The third- and fourth-placed teams from the preliminary round, meanwhile, will play a qualifying match for third place. The fifth- and sixth-place teams from the group stage will also play each other in the match for fifth place.
All matches will be played at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium.
We hope that this tournament will be a great experience as it has been in recent years for junior players who are beginning to take their first steps on the international scene. It is a tournament that helps the big field hockey teams and their junior players to get a feel for what it is like to compete in such important cup.
AUSTRALIA 3 VS JAPAN 2
The first match of this new edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup 2022 was between two great powers and connoisseurs of this cup, Australia that with this ninth appearance while Japan adds its fifth appearance.
Two very strong field hockey nations, with a lot of development and potential in their national teams, promised a match that was not going to be easy for either of them.
As expected, it was a back-and-forth game and Australia managed to find the lead with 5 seconds left in the first quarter with a long flick pass, receiving the ball HOLLAND Jack to put a missile into the goal of ISHIDA Takeya.
In the second quarter things were not going well for the team led by SAEKI Ikumi, as at 22 minutes BROOKS Joshua converted a penalty stroke to put his team ahead 2-0.
Japan did not want to be left behind and in the 36th minute managed to score a backhand goal by IMAMATSU Yu, to make it 2-1.
Australia didn’t want to leave anything to chance and that’s why in the 43rd minute they got a penalty corner that served to BURNS Cooper’s drag flick to make it 3-1.
The intensity of the Australian team did not let the team led by WATANABE Hiroki open any space and find the goal so easily, so it was only 1 minute before the end of the match that SAEKI Ikumi managed to score the second goal for his team also with a drag flick.
The match ended 3-2 with victory for the Australians who start this cup with the right foot waiting for their next rival Malaysia, on their side Japan will have to play tomorrow against Great Britain.
GREAT BRITAIN 4 VS SOUTH AFRICA 1
The second match of the day at the start of this 10th edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup was between Great Britain and South Africa. Great Britain makes its eighth appearance in this tournament, being one of the national teams that played the most in this cup that is held in Malaysia every year. While South Africa is making its debut in this 2022 edition as it had never played it before in its history.
As all the matches of this cup, two very strong teams were expected, with the energy of a first match in such a prestigious cup for the under-21 teams. It is a tournament that helps the national teams to measure themselves against other great field hockey powers, to gain confidence and to gain experience at the international level.
The match started with both teams being very offensive, attacking through every possible space and looking to get to the penalty area faster than their opponents. It was not until the 12th minute that in an attacking play PENDLE Alex managed to deflect the ball into the goal after a cross from the back line, thus scoring the first goal of the match and of the tournament for the team in red.
3 minutes later, South Africa did not want to be left behind and managed to tie the match with a backhand shot by RAATH Niel with a power that was impossible for the English goalkeeper to save it.
Already in the second quarter with the match tied, the team led by BLEBY Jon wanted to keep control of the ball and managed to get into the box and scored the second goal for his team, executed by HEIGH Fraser.
Within a minute of the second goal, the Reds earned a penalty corner that led to PENROSE Rory making it 3-1 with a drag flick. Nine minutes later, the player in the number 6 shirt scored another penalty corner goal to make it 4-1, the score that ended the match. Although there were other scoring chances for both teams, none of them could be converted.
South Africa will play against India tomorrow, while Great Britain will play against Japan.
INDIA 5 VS MALAYSIA 2
To close this first day of the Sultan of Johor Cup 2022, the most important match of the day was played. The local team against another of the great Asian powers.
Malaysia being the organizer of this cup, obviously participated in all editions winning it only once in 2011, while India makes its ninth appearance in this tournament, which managed to conquer 2 times (2013 and 2014).
The atmosphere at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium was already different in advance, with many local people arriving at the stadium to watch this match that promised a nice show. We could see a large group of fans cheering for Malaysia, who did not stop singing throughout the game (something that is usually only seen in soccer matches).
With these fans in the stands, the match did not start as Malaysia expected because after 6 minutes of play India managed to score the first goal of the match through Amandeep. 4 minutes after the first goal Hundal Araijeet Singh made it 2-0 for the blue team on a rebound after a penalty corner. Although during those first minutes India kept possession of the ball, Malaysia did not want to be left behind and tried to attack from both sides of the field. Fortunately, in the 13th minute, after a cross in the Indian box, Shahmie Irfan Suhaimi managed to find a ball that had bounced off the referee’s feet (it is important to clarify that the referee is not part of the game, so the play had to continue) to push it in and score Malaysia’s first goal of the match.
Five minutes into the second quarter, Dhami Boby Singh managed to recover a ball, entering the circle, and shooting a backhanded ball that hit the left post of the Malaysian goalkeeper.
Malaysia was trying to set up their game, but India’s offensive power did not let them move forward, while they tried to get the ball as close to the box as possible and that is how CHIRMAKO Sudeep managed a backhand shot that went in as if making a balloon over the goalkeeper to put the partial 4-1 for the team led by KUMAR C. R.
In an electrifying last quarter, Malaysia came out with all the energy to try to turn the score around and so it was that in the 52nd minute, MAMAT Muhammad managed to convert with a drag flick from a penalty corner to make it 4-2.
Four minutes after Malaysia’s second goal, the team in blue managed to get a penalty corner for TIWARI Sharda Nand to drag flick in the fifth goal for his team.
The fans did not stop cheering for a single second of the match, understanding that this helped Malaysia to go for the game in the second half.
Despite the fans, Malaysia was unable to score any more goals and the victory in the first match of the tournament went to India.
The hosts will play against Australia tomorrow, while India will face South Africa.