Azrai turns hero for Malaysia in win over Canada

KUALA LUMPUR: Azrai Aizad Abu Kamal scored twice in the last 10 minutes to help Malaysia to a hard fought 3-2 win over Canada and stay in contention for a place in the semi-finals of the Nations Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa, today.

Sean Davis gave world No 14 Canada the lead in the 18th minute but Firhan Ashaari equalised for Malaysia in the 32nd off a penalty corner.

Canada, who lost to Japan 3-0 in their first match on Monday, regained the lead through Gordon Johnston by sounding the board off a penalty corner in the 39th minute.

The pressure was on world No 10 Malaysia, who are the highest ranked team in the eight-nation tournament, to win the match after losing the opening game 1-0 to South Korea.

Arul Selvaraj's men went all out in the last quarter and delivered when it mattered.

Azrai levelled the score in the 50th off a field attempt. And sixth minutes later, he was on target for the winner through another field attempt. Fittingly, Azrai was named the man of the match.

Azrai said he thanked God for the hard fought win over Canada.

"We twice came back from a goal down to beat Canada to collect the three important points.

"We made some silly mistakes today. We need to rectify them before we play Japan."

Canada skipper Gordon Johnston said they let slip a win from their hands in the last quarter.

Meanwhile Asian champions South Korea secured a place in the semi-finals after their second consecutive win in Group B by defeating Japan 3-1.

Jang Jonghyun scored through two penalty corners in the 14th and 45th minutes while Kim Sunghyun struck in the 17th. Niwa Takuma scored Japan's consolation goal in the 28th.


Group A: Ireland 3 Pakistan 1.

Group B: S. Korea 3 Japan 1, Canada 2 Malaysia 3.

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