Malaysia hold New Zealand to a draw in Sultan Azlan Shah opener

Malaysia performed valiantly to hold defending champions New Zealand to a 3-3 draw in the opening match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday.

Team captain Razie Rahim, Firhan Ashaari and Shahril Saabah, who were all down with a bug the past few days, stepped out of bed and managed to score a goal each for their country.

Firhan Ashaari broke the deadlock for the hosts after making the most out of Azhan Hasan’s pass on the 15th minute. The Tenaga Nasional player’s effort on goal was initially blocked by New Zealand goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex but the 23 year-old pounced on the rebound.

Photo Credit: The Star
Photo Credit: The Star

Nick Wilson then scored twice in the 22nd and 34th minute to gain the lead for the Kiwis. However, captain Razie Rahim equalized on the 44th minute through a penalty corner.

The Tigers retook the lead after Shahril Saabah scored four minutes later but their hopes of a memorable win were dashed when Simon Child equalized on the 55th minute of the tie.

In the earlier games, India narrowly defeated Japan 2-1 whereas Pakistan beat Canada 3-1.

Malaysia face Japan tonight at 8.35pm.

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