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Monday November 26, 2012

Malaysia charge to victory against South Korea in Argentina

KUALA LUMPUR: Not all was bad for Malaysian sports yesterday. After the national football team’s insipid display and the badminton players poor show at the Hong Kong Open, the national hockey side proved to be the saving grace.

Malaysia continued their excellent run in the Champions Challenge I hockey tournament when they came back from a goal down to beat favourites South Korea 4-2 in the Group A match in Quilmes, Argentina yesterday.

It was the second consecutive win for Malaysia, the world No. 13, and they top the group with maximum points from their two matches. On Saturday, Malaysia had outplayed Poland 4-0.

Malaysia complete their group fixtures against Canada tomorrow but top defender Baljit Singh may miss the match as he is nursing an ankle injury sustained against Poland.

The Koreans, who defeated Malaysia 3-2 in the Olympic qualifier in Dublin in March, took the lead off a penalty corner in the eighth minute through Jang Jong-hyun.

But the national team equalised 10 minutes later through forward Tengku Ahmad Tajudin off a rebound from a penalty corner.

Then defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim gave Malaysia the lead off another penalty corner in the 30th minute.

And hardly a minute later Tengku Ahmad was on target to score his second from a superb field play by the Malaysians.

It was all Malaysia now and veteran Chua Boon Huat making a return after a two-year absence banged home from close range in the 48th minute. At 4-1, Malaysia were cruising and although the Koreans scored another through Jong-hyun again, it was just a consolation.

Team manager George Koshy said that it was a remarkable win over the Koreans.

“I cannot remember when the last time we beat the Koreans. Today’s performance was much better compared to the one against Poland.

“The win is a major boost to the national team. We now have a chance to top the group and we must beat Canada on Tuesday,” said George.

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