Arul Selvaraj’s Speedy Tigers ended their tour of South Korea with a thrilling 2-1 win over the World No 9 side at the Jingcheon National Training Centre in Incheon.

It was the Malaysians, who are ranked 10th in the FIH World Rankings, first win over the Koreans following two earlier drawn matches and a 2-3 defeat in the four-match friendly series.

Najib Abu Hassan scored a field goal for the Speedy Tigers in the 28th minute, while the Koreans equalised in the 36th minute. However, Shahmie Irfan Suhaimi scored the winner in similar fashion in the 45th minute.

In a video clip shared by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC), national coach Arul said he was satisfied with the performance of the team in the last match but acknowledged there were areas that need to be improved.

“We were experimenting a new system and the players adapted very well to it. The four matches gave us valuable knowledge on the South Korean side who played a fully committed game and we can learn some points and improve after the tour.

“We need more goals from penalty corners (after this) because I am happy with the strike rate from my players,” added Arul.

Both teams are preparing for the upcoming Asian Champions Trophy in Chennai, India from July 3-12, which will serve as a precursor to the Hangzhou Asian Games from Sept 23-Oct 8. The gold medallist at the Asian Games will qualify for the Paris Olympics.

“It was mentally stressful as the umpiring was one-sided,” said Arul.

“We received two yellow and two green cards, while Korea only received one green. “The friendlies were a selection process for Korea, and their players did not hold back. These matches will benefit us ahead of the ACT and Asian Games.”

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