Australia wins Sultan Azlan Sha Cup hockey tournament, beating Malaysia 8-3

Monday, 24 March 2014 13:32

Australia have taken out the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Malaysia with an 8-3 win over the hosts in the final.

Chris Ciriello's four goals has helped Australia to an unprecedented eighth Sultan Azlan Shah Cup men's hockey title on Sunday night.

The Kookaburras ran out 8-3 winners over hosts Malaysia in the final, which was played at a frenetic tempo in front of a capacity crowd.

The match burst into life in the sixth minute when Ciriello powered home the game's first penalty corner.

Tasmanian Eddie Ockenden doubled the Kookaburras' advantage shortly afterwards and by midway through the first half Australia were three goals up after Ciriello netted his second.

Goals either side of half time saw Malaysia fight their way back into contention as first Shahril Saabah and then Rashid Baharom got the 12,000 strong crowd on its feet.

No sooner, however, had Malaysia got to within one goal than the Kookaburras responded.

Ciriello completed his hat-trick to extend the Kookaburras' lead to 4-2 and just four minutes later, Nick Budgeon maintained his impressive record of scoring in every Australian match in the competition for a 5-2 lead.

Ciriello then bagged a fourth penalty corner goal with Matt Gohdes and Tristan White adding to the Australian tally either side of Fitri Saari's late strike.

"We played pretty well today, we were solid all the way through," Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth said.

"I felt that we controlled the game despite a period in the second half when it got pretty tense."

With the World Cup in the Netherlands coming up, Charlesworth said there is still plenty of opportunity for athletes to book their place on the plane.

"We've got a dozen or so players at home who are still very much in contention. We've got seven weeks of hard training and it's very competitive for places," he said.

The Kookaburras will now face New Zealand's Black Sticks in two Test matches in Perth next month.

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