The Taman Daya Hockey Stadium remained Germany’s lucky charm on Malaysian soil with a 3-1 victory in penalty shootout over Australia to regain the Sultan of Johor Cup.
In a nail-biting final on Saturday night witnessed by Tunku Idris Iskandar Tunku Temenggong Johor and close to 5,000 fans, the Germans were taken to the distance by the Burras after regulation time ended scoreless.
Germany had won the Junior World Cup at the same venue in 2009, defeating Netherlands 3-1 in the final. The Germans tasted another success – winning the Sultan of Johor Cup in the debut in 2012 at the same stadium.
The German might in the SOJC is an indication of an early warning to the others that they will be a force to be reckoned with in next month’s World Cup from Dec 5-16 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Germany coach Rein van Elik, said: “We are very happy that we won the tournament and we are especially very happy that we have improved in every game that we were able to start better from game to game. Today we were able to control Australia pretty well.
“Unfortunately, we did not score any goals which we would like to do. We like to entertain the crowd as well and play better. We are definitely not ready for the World Cup yet. We can do better and have to get better. Australia is a tough opponent and we have a couple of things that we will work on. It is a good thing that we have four weeks to iron things out,” he added.
The magic of the SOJC continues to reverberate the stadium, just as it did for every edition of this marquee tournament for the past 11 years.
Hockey fans thronged to the stadium not only anticipating highly-octane atmosphere matches, first between arch rivals India and Pakistan in the playoff for third place, followed by the final between World No 2 Germany and World No 9 Australia, but the amazing display of fireworks after the prize giving ceremony.
In the group matches played last week, the Germans came back from two goals down to hold the Burras to a 2-2 draw in one of the most exciting matches in the tournament.
Both Australia and Germany were quick out of the blocks and showed they are here as early favorites once after the exit of strong contenders India and Pakistan in the semifinals.
It was another hockey fiesta at Taman Daya Hockey Stadium and the FIH sanctioned annual invitational tournament.
ROLL OF HONOUR:
Third place: India
Top Scorer: Amandeep Lakra (India) six goals
Best Goalkeeper: Joshua Onyekwle Nnaji (Germany)
Best Player of the Tournament: Matteo Poljaric (Germany)