Hockey: Poland in command as Malaysians fade away

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The Independent Online
POLAND came from behind yesterday to beat Malaysia 3-2 in an entertaining game of fluctuating fortunes in the Four Nations Invitational at the National Stadium here. It was the Poles who so nearly sprung a major surprise in their opening game on Wednesday when they went down only 1-0 to the powerful German side.

Malaysia, just as they had done in their opening game against England, opened the scoring in the seventh minute through Piotr Mikula before fatally deciding to fall back on defence.

A powerful drive through the Malaysian defence by Robert Grzeszezak, the Polish captain, set up their opening goal. He struck a devastating shot into the circle which was deflected high into the roof of the net by Maciej Matuszynski. Two Polish goals midway through the second half put them in command.

In defence, Malaysia's Maninderjit Singh Sidhu, making his 151st appearance for his country, played his usual sound game. Sidhu was also made 15,000 Malaysian ringetts (pounds 2,500) richer thanks to the Malaysian government's tradition of rewarding their athletes when they make 150 international appearances.

The clash between Spain, the women's 1992 Olympic champions, and Australia, the 1996 Olympic champions was a less one-sided affair than the 7-1 scoreline in Australia's favour suggested.

Nothing went Spain's way with the Australians benefiting at the outset from the whim of the umpire. Two dubious decisions saw to it that they were two goals ahead inside the first 20 minutes.

Alyson Annan scored the second with a smart move through the Spanish defence for the first of her three goals. Annan and Katrina Powell, who scored twice, made life difficult for the Spanish players, but Australia were by no means dominant.

In defence, Maider Tellerina, the Spanish captain, worked tirelessly while Lucia Lopez always posed a threat with her running up front. Spain's consolation came with a brilliantly taken penalty corner from Sonia Barrio in the 67th minute.

Australia, after today's rest day, will meet England in the final pool game tomorrow.

WORLD INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT (Milton Keynes) Men: Poland 3 Malaysia 2. Women: Australia 7 Spain 1. PAN-AM GAMES (Winnipeg) Finals: Men: Canada 1 Argentina 0 (Canada qualify for Sydney Olympics). Women: Argentina 5 United States 2 (Argentina qualify for Olympics).

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