23 Oct 2017

Ephraums strikes again for Australia Featured

Defending champions Australia defeated Japan 4-0 to register their second straight win in the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium today.


Nathan Ephraums once again came to the rescue of his side with the opening goal – his sixth in the tournament while Nathanael Stewart, Liam Flynn and Andrew Scanlon added to the Japanese misery.

Australian head coach Brent Livermore, said: “It was a low par performance from us. We only played a quarter of the four quarters and that too in the third quarter. Against a team like Malaysia, India and Great Britain it will not be good for us.”

His Japanese counterpart, Kyoichi Nagaya, said the players were too tensed going into the game against the Australians and attributes this as a main factor in their defeat.

“They were under tremendous pressure and were tensed. After the match against India, the players put a lot of pressure on themselves. It was a good match in the first half but they could not match the physical strength of the Australians,” said Kyoichi.

Japan, who played gallantly against reigning Junior World Cup champions India before falling 2-3 in their opening match, went into the game with the hope of creating an upset win over the Australians.

The Japanese strategy of man to man marking proved successful, at least in the first and second quarters, not giving Livermore’s boys who humbled an inexperienced United States 19-0 in Sunday’s opening match, much room to make inroads.

The only time the Australians ventured into the Japanese territory was in the second minute to earn a penalty corner which turned fruitless. Japan also had its fair share of ball possession and attacking opportunity but could not make any breakthrough as the first half ended scoreless,

But the Australians rallied back in the third quarter to end the deadlock and it took the ingenuity of Ephraums to open the flood gates in the 33rd minute. 

That goal set the tone of a strong comeback from the Australians who went 2-0 up three minutes later via Stewart’s penalty corner conversion.

It was a far busy day for Japanese young and inexperienced goalkeeper Yuri Arnould, who had a good game against India but could do little to stop the marauding Australians towards the end of the third quarter as Flynn relayed a low but powerful push into the left corner of the net to give his side a 3-0 lead in the 37thminute and Scanlon extended it to 4-0 off a penalty corner.

The tournament takes a rest tomorrow and matches will resume on Wednesday.

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