Australia defeated Malaysia 6-2 in their final pool game of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup on Saturday and the same two sides will meet in Sunday’s final.
Korea will play China for bronze after they defeated South Africa 5-2. Canada and South Africa will play off for fifth place.
Speaking after their victory, Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth said, “In the first 50 minutes the team started off well with a 1-0 lead however, the last ten minutes became disappointing with the team structures starting to show gaps, our opponents kicked into gear picking up two easy goals. Large crowds attended tonight to support the hosts Malaysia bringing plenty of noise and cheering along with them. Digressions saw some of our players with yellow cards leaving the squad to a nine man team in the crucial final minutes, which was disappointing.”
After a slow start, Nick Budgeon broke the ice off the back of a penalty corner in the 17th minute. With a powerful drag flick that arrowed into the back board, Budgeon’s goal put the first point on the score board for the Kookaburras with a 1-0 lead.
The Kookaburras were unstoppable in the second half with Malaysia unable to shutdown their key forwards resulting in Australia adding another five goals to the score board. Two minutes into the second half Melbourne defender Chris Ciriello swept the ball into the top right of the net giving Australia breathing space with a 2-0 lead.
Russell Ford, Daniel Beale and Jeremy Hayward fired into gear in the 40th minute, scoring three goals four minutes apart pushing the Kookaburras well into the lead, 5-0.Malaysia, still fighting to keep up with the Kookaburras, attempted to keep their defence tight however, Australia’s pressure remained strong with Ciriello coming back for seconds scoring a hard, fast and low ball into the back board from a penalty corner in the 59th minute.
Carrying a 6-0 lead, the Kookaburras seemed to be out of danger however, that was not the case. Malaysia’s fired up striker, Faizal Saari, pushed for two penalty corners in the 61st and 70th minute closing the deficit to 6-2 on the siren.
Kookaburras’ athlete Jamie Dwyer sat the match out after suffering a hamstring injury in Thursday night’s match against Korea.
The result maintained the Kookaburras’ 100% record in Ipoh.