Monday, September 14, 2009


S. Selvaraju has made an impact in his very first match in the New Zealand League based on the press report below. And this augurs well for the youngster as he tries to win a place in the final squad for the World Cup Qualifiers this November.

The Midlands men's side led Auckland 6-2 with 20 minutes remaining before the visitors closed the gap to take some gloss off an otherwise convincing win against the side they beat in last year's final.

"It was winning ugly, that was the disappointing thing," said influential midfielder Lloyd Stephenson.

"It's about winning at tournament time but we expect a lot more of ourselves, given the depth of talent and experience we've got.

"We lost a little focus and our decision making was poor at times," he added.

At times it was very good as well Richard Petherick scored twice from well-executed drag-flicked penalty corners, Malaysian import Selvaraju Sandrakasi showed some exciting touches and they kept young Auckland dangerman Simon Child quiet for the majority of the encounter.

Sandrakasi earnt Midlands a penalty that Stephenson converted just before halftime to give them a 4-2 lead, with Raynesh Smith also netting after fine work from Nick Ross.

The second half highlight came when Stephenson hammered a defence-splitting diagonal pass for Sandrakasi to dive onto and deflect home, while Stephenson also helped set up Hugo Inglis for a neat finish.

Stephenson was enthusiastic over Sandrakasi's display.

"He's a good addition to the team. I think he gives us things we need, like a dangerous influence up front." Midlands men will start their tournament week in Christchurch with a match against Wellington on Saturday.