Much Awaited Sultan of Johor Cup 2022 Opens with Great Excitement

After three years in mothballs thanks to the global pandemic the Sultan of Johor Cup, Asia’s premier under21 tournament returned with bang on the opening day of the 10th edition.


The opening game was the same as it was in 2019 when the tournament was last played and saw Australia face-off against Japan.

In 2019 the Australian side had underperformed due to illness sweeping through the team, so this new crop of players was looking to make amends and start the tournament on a positive note.

At the end of the first quarter Australia caught Japan by surprise. Looking as if they were running the clock down, Cam Geddes threw and aerial pass into the circle that was superbly brought down by Jack Holland who with his second touch hammered it past Kisho Kurodo with three seconds left on the clock.

Australia stretched their lead in the 22nd minute when the ball struck the unfortunate Jun Watanabe on his goal line and Joshua Brooks converted the penalty stroke.

Japan came out for the second half and pulled back a goal after good work from their captain Ikumi Saeki, which resulted in Yu Imamatsu scoring.

Australia restored their two-goal advantage thanks to a Cooper Burns penalty corner. Although in control of the game, Japan kept pressing and were rewarded with a second when they converted a penalty corner of their own through captain Saeki with two minutes to go.

In the second game defending champions Great Britain came up against South Africa playing in the tournament for the first time. To many they are an unknown quantity and certainly not a team to be taken lightly.

Amazingly these two teams had not met in an international tournament previously.

The first quarter was highly competitive with Great Britain taking the lead in 12th minute following a great run from Tom Moorhouse along the baseline that saw Alex Pendle fire home from close range.

However, South Africa came back following a storming run from inside his own half that was finished superbly by Cameron le Forestier.

However, in the second quarter Great Britain took complete control with a field goal from Fraser Heigh and two penalty corners from Rory Penrose.

South Africa had their goalkeeper Kamva Dyakala that they did not concede more.

The second half saw Great Britain look to conserve energy with the game won. South Africa threatened but just lacked the precision required to unlock a solid defense. Great Britain winning 4-1.

The final game of day one saw the host nation take on India who were the dominant team in the tournament in 2019 only to lose a nail-biting final and have to settle for a silver medal.

Malaysia as host has not won the tournament since the first edition in 2011. For them it was vital that they had a positive performance in the opening game.

From the first Whistle India took control and by the 10th minute were 2-0 up. Then Malaysia was given a lifeline when the ball was played across the circle and struck the umpire and ricocheted to Shahmie Irfan Sulhami who fired it home. India protested, but to no avail.

In the second quarter Boby Singh Dhami scored a magical solo goal before Sudeep Chirmako opened his tournament account and made it 4-1 at half time.

The third quarter was scoreless and in the fourth Malaysia pulled another goal back after Muhammed Mamat converted a penalty corner. If Malaysian fans expected a comeback, it was short-lived as with four minutes remaining Sharda Nand Tiwari converted a penalty corner for India and finally beat the defence of goalkeeper Raifaizul to make it 5-2.

So, at the end of day one India, Australia and Great Britain were victorious.  Japan, Malaysia, and South Africa will be looking to claim a first victory on day two.

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