The Korean players (in white) celebrate after scoring against Malaysia in the Champions Challenge I Group B match in Kuantan on Sunday. - BERNAMA
KUANTAN: Malaysia’s hopes of a top-two finish in Group B of the Champions Challenge 1 went bust when they lost 1-3 to South Korea in their second match at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium.
It was their second defeat in a row for Malaysia after their 2-3 loss to France on Saturday.
The Malaysians were sloppy in defence and also allowed the Koreans too much room to attack. Their overall performance was also not up to mark and they wasted five penalty corners.
South Korea, on six points, went to the top of the group on a better goal difference than second-placed Canada.
Malaysia went into the match knowing they needed a win to keep alive their hopes of a top-two placing in the group. Likewise, the Koreans were also desperate for full points after a 3-3 draw with Canada in their opening match.
Malaysia managed to gain their first penalty corner in the 12th minute, but Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin sent his flick wide.
In the 18th minute, the Koreans earned their first penalty corner and they made no mistake with Nam Hyun-yoo scoring with a direct drag flick.
The Malaysians fought back and had a chance to score with their second penalty corner in the 22nd minute. This time, Mohamed Shahril Saabah took the attempt but his shot hit the post.
Malaysia had another two more penalty corners in the 33rd and 34th minutes but again the attempts by Kazamirul fell flat.
In the second half, the Koreans took just two minutes to increase their lead to 2-0 with a quick counter-attack and scored through You Hyo-sik.
Jang Jong-hyun piled on more misery for the homesters with another penalty corner goal in the 50th minute to stretch their lead to 3-0.
The Malaysians then tried to stage a fightback, but it was clear that it was a lost cause. They only managed to net a consolation goal through Ismail Abu in the 67th minute.
In an earlier match, Canada registered their first win by beating France 3-2.
The Canadians took just four minutes to open the scoring through a penalty corner goal by Scott Tupper.
Although the Canadians enjoyed possession, it was the French who looked dangerous up front.
In the 20th minute, France drew level with a penalty corner conversion by Victor Charlet.
Canada, however, went ahead again in the 43rd minute when Philip Wright scored a field goal. Iain Smythe then made it 3-1 for Canada in the 58th minute.
Charlet managed to reduce the deficit for France with another penalty corner conversion in the 64th minute.
France coach Frederic Soyez was disappointed with the loss.
“We just were not able to convert our chances. We had plenty, like 15 to 20 chances. They scored early in both halves and that put pressure on us. But we are here to learn and this is a good tournament for the young players to gain experience. We are looking forward to the coming matches,” said Soyez.
France play South Korea tomorrow while Canada take on Malaysia. Today is a rest day.