KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia scored two quick penalty corner goals in the second quarter to edge defending champions South Korea 2-1 in their Group B match of the men’s Asia Cup hockey tournament in Dhaka.
Malaysia surprised South Korea with goals by Faizal Saari (17th minute) and Mohd Azri Hassan (19th) at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium yesterday. The Koreans reduced the deficit through Lee Seung-hoon in the 27th minute.
It was Malaysia’s second win in the tournament, having trounced China 7-1 on Thursday.
With yesterday’s win, Malaysia have booked their berth in the Super Fours (second round) of the tournament.
World No. 12 Malaysia still have a match in hand against Oman tomorrow.
The Koreans, who have yet to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, have one win and one defeat. World No. 13 South Korea and China meet tomorrow with the winners set to seal their place in the Super Four.
China had earlier edged Oman by a similar 2-1 scoreline to keep their Super Four hopes alive.
Malaysian team manager Mohd Nasihin Nubli admitted that the “early goals allowed us to keep the Koreans at bay”.
“We had no pressure and we played at a relaxed pace. The early goals in the second quarter helped. The Koreans were under pressure as they needed to win.
“It helped that our players were mobile and their defensive play was up to par.
“It was a good win and one that the players worked hard for.
“Skipper Mohd Shukri Mutalib is injured but he should be ready for the Super Four round.
“We are happy to have grabbed two wins. We hope to wrap up the preliminary round with another win on Monday,” he said.