Goalkeeper Mohd Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri let in two late goals in Malaysia's 4-4 draw with China in the second test match in Bukit Jalil on Tuesday. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: China staged a magnificent fightback in the last 12 minutes, coming back from three goals down to hold Malaysia to a 4-4 draw in the second friendly at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Malaysia, who won the first friendly 2-1 on Saturday, took the lead through Haziq Samsul in the ninth minute off a field goal in Monday’s match.
They doubled the score in the 41st off another field goal by Mohd Shahrul Saabah.
But two minutes later, China reduced the deficit with a penalty corner goal taken by Dong Yang.
Malaysia, who are preparing for the Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan from April 26-May 4, then scored two more goals through Haziq Samsul (46th) and Mohd Fitri Saari (55th) to make it 4-1.
But China, who finished fourth in the six-nation Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh last month, fought back to score three goals in a 13-minute spell.
Dong Yang scored another penalty corner in the 57th minute and Wang Bouen narrowed the deficit to 4-3 in the 67th.
With a minute to go before full-time, Zhu Xu popped up to score the equaliser from close range.
China team manager Yang Liu was delighted with the fighting spirit shown by his team, who are preparing for the Asian Games in September.
“We played much better today compared to our first match. We hope to play much better in the third match on Wednesday,” said Yang Liu.
National chief coach K. Dharmaraj said they conceded the three late goals due to the inexperience of goalkeeper Mohd Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri.
“We fielded our main goalkeeper S. Kumar in the first 23 minutes and he did not let in a single goal. Roslan (Jamaluddin) played the next 23 minutes and he conceded one. We then put in Mohd Hazrul.
“I have 29 players in the training squad and I am trying out all the players in the friendlies. I will use the friendlies to pick the best 20 players for the Champions Challenge 1,” said Dharmaraj.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah wants Malaysia to finish as champions in the Champions Challenge I.
“I expect the national team to finish first in Kuantan because the winners will be assured of a place in the Champions Trophy in 2016,” said Tengku Abdullah after a cheque presentation ceremony here on Monday.
He also advised the players to avoid picking up injuries during the Champions Challenge I as Malaysia need all their best players for the World Cup in The Hague from May 31-June 15.
“The players should play it smart and not jeopardise our World Cup hopes,” said Tengku Abdullah.