KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s defence crumbled when it mattered most and they ended up losing 5-4 to China in their opening Group A match of the women’s Asia Cup.
This was despite the Malaysians leading 4-3 with just three minutes left to play at the Gifu Hockey Stadium in Kakamigahara, Japan.
World No. 8 China got their goals through Ye Jinping (third minute), Zhong Jiaqi (seventh), Chen Yi (26th), Yuan Meng (57th) and Wang Tingting (59th).
World No. 22 Malaysia scored through Siti Rahmah Othman (18th), Nurul Nabihah Mansur (45th, 48th) and Nadia Hanis Onn (55th).
National coach K. Dharmaraj was annoyed with his players for failing to defend their lead.
“We were so close to upsetting top seeds China in the Asia Cup. We were down 3-1 and worked so hard to lead 4-3.
“Then our defence collapsed in the dying minutes,” said Dharmaraj, who claimed that China’s fourth goal should have been disallowed as a Chinese player hit a high ball into the D.
“We couldn’t ask the umpire for video referral as we had already lost our earlier referral.”
In another Group A match, India thrashed Singapore 10-0.
Malaysia will face Singapore today and Dharmaraj wants his players to collect full points.