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Australia win Azlan Shah Cup

January 18, 2004 19:48 IST
Last Updated: January 18, 2004 20:46 IST

Australia beat Pakistan 4-3 in the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday to win the title for the third time.

Travis Brooks put Australia ahead in the 21st minute with a superb reverse stick hit after ghosting past the Pakistani defenders on the left flank.

Australia they made it 2-0 when Brooks, who was later named as the man of the match, scored again in the 29th minute.

To Pakistan's credit, they regrouped quickly and forced a free-hit at the top of the circle in the very next minute. Skipper Muhammad Nadeem took a crack into the circle, where Jawaad did well to get a touch to put Pakistan back in the game.

Thus, with the score-line reading 2-1 in favour of Australia at half-time, the game stood evenly poised with Australia failing to convert both their penalty-corners while Sohail Abbas drew a blank from his only attempt.

However, eight minutes into the second-half, Abbas came good with Pakistan's second penalty-corner as the match headed for an exciting finish.

The Aussies hit back strongly off the very first move from restart as Mark Knowles put through Boyce, who slammed a wrong-foot shot past the goalkeeper.

The Aussies were denied further success as Salman Akbar brought off several great saves, but he had no answer to Elder's 57th minute penalty-corner drag-flick and Australia jumped to a 4-2 lead.

The Pakistanis were not quite finished yet. They reduced the margin five minutes from close when Abbas converted the fourth penalty-corner for his 10th goal of the tournament.

The inspired Pakistanis mounted pressure, but the Australians managed to see off the challenge.

Earlier, South Korea staged a superb rally to emerge 6-5 winners against World champions Germany for a third-place finish in the seven-nation competition.

In a gripping contest, the Koreans displayed great character to come back from 0-2 and 1-3 to force a 3-3 deadlock that could not be broken despite 15 minutes of extra-time.

In the play-off for the fifth-sixth place, Spain defeated Malaysia 2-1. The hosts led 1-0 on a goal by Chua Boon Huat (18th), but Spain hit back in the second through Santiago Freixa (49th minute) and Alberto Esteban (58th).

 Final standings:
 1. Australia
 2. Pakistan
 3. Korea
 4. Germany
 5. Spain
 6. Malaysia
 7. India

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