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Australia down Germany, enter final
Anand Philar |
January 16, 2004 18:53 IST
Australia humbled Germany 4-2 on Friday to set up a title clash with Pakistan in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Kuala Lumpur.
In a virtual replay of the 2002 World Cup final, which Germany won 2-1, the Aussies punished their opponents for their mistakes and goals by Michael McCann (14th minute), Travis Brooks (36th) and Grant Schubert (65th and 68th) paved the way for a deserving victory.
Pakistan had already qualified for Sunday's final after finishing the seven-team league unbeaten, with 14 points.
The Germans, who needed only a draw to advance to the final, were kept afloat by a Matthias Wittahaus goal in the 32nd minute, but then, on the day, the World champions, especially skipper Florian Kunz, committed far too many mistakes against a side that kept its focus.
Though Witthaus knocked in another goal a minute before the final whistle, it was all over bar the shouting.
Australia finished the league with 11 points from three wins and two draws, while Germany ended on 10 after suffering their second defeat. They won three and drew one match.
The Australians played a tight game both in defence and attack, and had their forwards been a bit more accurate, they could well have scored a bigger win.
McCann gave Australia a good start when he put home a Tristram Woodhouse pass midway through the first session, but the Germans equalised close to half-time as Witthaus found the net off Christoph Eimer's pass.
Thus, with the scores tied 1-1 at the break, the game was on a knife's edge. But the Aussies got the upper hand when they struck soon after resumption with Brooks pounding in following a free-hit.
Thereafter, the Germans defended well but the pressure told on them as they conceded two goals in three minutes, with the opportunistic Schubert coming up with two neat deflections before Witthaus pulled one back in the final minute.