Malaysia and S. Korea face off in a must-win encounter

  • Football
  • Saturday, 21 Oct 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and South Korea face a do-or-die mission in their final Super Fours match in the Asia Cup.

Both teams meet in a crucial game today at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka, which could decide one of the finalists.

Malaysia have never reached the final and their best outing was a third place achieved in 2005 in Chennai.

The Koreans are the defending champions but more importantly, they need to make the final to keep alive their hopes of a World Cup berth.

South Korea must retain their title to qualify.

India, Malaysia, and Pakistan have already booked their spots at the World Hockey League.

Malaysia have three points from the 3-2 win over Pakistan. But on Thursday they were whipped 6-2 by India, who have four points.

The South Koreans have two points.

National coach Stephen van Huizen said his players know what they must do.

“Both teams need to win. Otherwise the final is not reachable.

“We can expect the Koreans to go at us from the start and they have this ability to sustain the attack throughout the game.

“It is going to take a lot from us and each time we played them the score has been close,” he said.

Malaysia have several players on the injury list but Van Huizen is keeping his fingers crossed that yesterday’s rest day will help them to recover.

Nabil Fiqri Mohamed Nor, who picked up a leg injury, is doubtful for the game while skipper Mohamed Shukri Mutalib and Mohamed Marhan Mohamed Jalil are expected to be fielded. “The Super Fours are tough as you have to play back-to-back matches,” added Van Huizen.

“There are no easy matches. We can expect an all-out attacking game from the Koreans and we must be ready to match them.”

Malaysia have won their last-two encounters against South Korea. In the World Hockey League Semi-final, they won 1-0 and in the Asia Cup preliminary round, the scoreline was 2-1.

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