KUANTAN: With the Malaysian forwards firing on all cylinders, the spotlight will fall on the midfielders and defenders when they take on Asian champions India in Wednesday’s Asian Champions Trophy match.
Experienced defender Mohd Razie Rahim and midfielder Fitri Saari believe that the two departments will have to push themselves to the limit to stop India.
Razie admitted that they will face tremendous pressure from world No. 6 India.
“India are the favourites ... they have a good line-up and greater experience,” he said.
“Our defence will come under greater scrutiny and the midfielders will also have their work cut out for them.
“The good thing is that the forwards are finding the target consistently.
“Still, it will be a tough outing. This match will give us the chance to test ourselves after coming through with three wins.”
Razie is Malaysia’s main penalty corner taker, but has yet to score in this tournament.
To be fair, the former skipper and Nabil Fiqri Mohd only got the green light to play in the tournament a few days before the opening match. They are both attending a police inspector training at Pulapol.
National coach Stephen van Huizen is not bothered by Razie’s lack of goals.
“He is a good player and we know his capabilities. He will score but, for now, we have others who can do the job,” said Stephen.
Fitri, one of the hardest working midfielders in the team, is also looking forward to the clash against India as “it will show us how far we have come”.
“There is no doubt that India are a good side and the tournament’s favourites.
“We have to be consistent and play according to the coach’s game plan. So far, we have been successful, but the real big matches are coming up ... India and South Korea are different compared to the teams we’ve played earlier,” said Fitri.
Malaysia will play South Korea on Thursday.
Malaysia lead the standings with nine points after wins over Pakistan (4-2), China (5-1) and Japan (7-2).
India are second with seven points. They beat Japan 10-2, drew 1-1 with South Korea and edged Pakistan 3-2.
The semi-finals are slated for Saturday.