By Fazil Mahmud
National senior team hockey coach A. Arul Selvaraj is confident the Speedy Tigers will take the 2-3 defeat against South Korea in their stride and grow from it as they go into a third showdown at the Jingcheon Sports Complex today (Sunday, July 25).
The Malaysians men’s hockey team was beaten 3-2 by the Koreans in the second of four-match friendly international series in Seoul last Friday, just two days after registering a 2-2 draw in the opening match.
South Korea, ranked 9th in the world, and Malaysia (ranked 10th) are preparing for the Asian Champions Trophy in Chennai, India from July 3-12, and the Hangzhou Asian Games in China due in September.
The other teams in the Asian Champions Trophy challenge are Pakistan, China, Japan and host India.
“In both matches, we took the lead early in the game but allowed the Koreans to come back. Overall, I am looking at the performance of several youngsters in the team,” said Arul. “I am confident the team will grow from that defeat.”
“Though we lost the second match 2-3, I am happy with the individual performance shown by them. They have shown a good level of maturity and great commitment. We played with a new system and it was nice to see our players adapt fast. It is also important to manage our lead to win matches. In both matches we allowed the grip to slip away,” he added.
He also complimented goalkeeper Adrian (Andy Albert) who gave a good account of himself throughout 60 minutes of the match.
The team will play the fourth and last match of the series on June 27 (Tuesday).
On Friday, Faizal Saari gave his side the lead in the fifth minute and Azrai Aizad doubled the score in the 12th minute through field goals. The Koreans pushed through in the last quarter with goals in the 45th, 46th and 54th minutes.
“We played with a new system and it was nice to see our players adapt fast to it. I’m happy to note the commitment shown in the first match,” said Malaysia coach Arul.