KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions Malacca opened their Razak Cup campaign with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Pahang at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
In another Group A match, last year’s Division Two champions Police defeated Johor 3-2.
Malacca took the lead in the 38th minute with Mohamed Nur Asyraf scoring from a penalty corner attempt. They extended their lead when Amirullah Zainol scored a field goal in the 53rd minute before Pahang reduced the deficit four minutes later through former international Ismail Abu.
But Amirullah was back on target the next minute to ensure they took home the three points.
Malacca coach Azrul Effendy Nistamann said he was relieved his players managed to get through the first game despite a slow start.
“The players were a little jittery in the first two quarters. But they managed to settle down and play much better in the final two quarters,” said Azrul.
“There were still areas we were not too good and we need to ensure that the mistakes are not repeated. It is a good start considering the first game is always tough,” he said.
Debutants Police had a game to remember as they clawed their way back from a two-goal deficit to snatch the win.
National skipper Mohamed Razie Rahim scored two goals in the 40th and 41st minutes while Baljit Singh Sarjab was on target in the 39th minute.
Mohamed Nur Hafiq Ghaffar and Mohamed Azammi Adabi scored for Johor in the 23rd and 33rd minutes.
In Division Two Selangor, last year’s runners-up, started off impressively with a thumping 8-0 win over Kedah in Group A.
In another Group A match Penang overcame a one-goal deficit to thump Perlis 7-3.
In the women’s category, Sabah set the tone for their title challenge with a 4-1 win over Negri Sembilan while Armed Forces defeated Terengganu 3-1 in Group B.
In Group A, Selangor was a big winner when they defeated Sarawak 5-2 while Johor edged Police 2-1.