Cardiff & Met @ Sulton of Johor Cup – GB U23

The Sultan of Johor Cup is an invitational tournament in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Two current Cardiff & Met players travelled with the 18-man Great Britain team – Ioan Wall, who was making his first appearance at the tournament, and Callum Mackenzie, making his third appearance. The team entered the tournament looking to retain the title they had claimed the year before.   The week-long tournament consisted of six teams; Great Britain, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and India. 

The first three games of the tournament showed Great Britain to be strong favourites, beating New Zealand 2-0, Japan 2-1 and Australia 1-0, with Wall scoring a PC against Japan. The results meant a draw was needed against the hosts to ensure a place in their third consecutive final. GB struggled, losing 1-0 in a scrappy game, meaning the final game against India was all to play for. The game finished 3-3, with Wall contributing to the score sheet with a PC, therefore both teams would face-off again in the final the following day – a repeat of the final from the previous year.  The atmosphere throughout the tournament was amazing; consistent drumming and chanting made it hard to hear anyone on the pitch. 

The final was played in front of a packed stadium, with no spare seat in sight. The final was end to end, counter attack after counter attack, with India having the better chances throughout. Going into the fourth quarter, all was square at 0-0.  India scored first with nine minutes left to play, but the lead was short lived with GB scoring just a minute after. This made for a tense final few minutes as India battered GB. With 25 seconds left on the clock, Wall fired a notorious slap into the circle. After the ball bounced around, it was finally turned in with 19 seconds left on the clock. The game finished 2-1 Great Britain, meaning they retain the title and become the first team to have won the tournament three times.

Ioan Wall
Callum Mackenzie (right)

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