Team Canada Men came out strong at the FIH Champions Challenge 1 with a solid 3 – 1 victory over Malaysia.
The match started well as Canada applied pressure for the first ten minutes. Scott Tupper scored the match’s first goal on a penalty corner. With a 1 – 0 lead, Canada continued dictating the flow of the game for much of the first half. Mayalsia fought back, responding with a goal off a penalty corner with 3.33 minutes to go, ending the half an even 1 – 1.
Canada came out fighting in the second half, efficiently attacking to create multiple scoring opportunities. Gabbar Singh converted a tremendous top right corner field goal from 4.5 yards off the baseline, giving Canada a 2 – 1 lead.
Malaysia had a chance to catch up in their lone penalty corner of the second half, but it was run down by Mark Pearson, preventing any shot on goal. The Canadians secured a 3 – 1 victory with a stroke by Rob Short, deflected into the goal by Iain Smythe.
“We had a solid result today, and I know we’re only going to improve from here,” said Smythe. “It was great to score three goals – two of them field goals! It definitely gives us confidence going into our next match. Gabbar’s goal was one of the top three goals I have ever seen – it blew my mind!”
Canada will face long-time rivals, Argentina, tomorrow at 11:00am in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Read more: Champions Challenge 1 has it all on Day 1
“Coach Robin D’Abreo added: “It was great to start with a win especially as ranking points are at stake.” Looking ahead to the team’s next match against Pan-American rivals Argentina he said: “They’re a strong squad and we need to come in with a strong performance.”