KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian hockey forwards need to buck up for their match against two-time champions Pakistan in the men’s Asian Champions Trophy in Muscat, Oman, today.
The Malaysian strikeforce of Faizal Saari, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil, Muhd Firhan Ashaari, Muhd Shahril Saabah and Nik Muhd Aiman Nik Rozemi failed to make a decent attempt at goal against defending champions India, which ended in a 0-0 draw at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Tuesday.
Malaysia, who edged India 7-6 in a penalty shootout after both teams drew 2-2 in regulation time to qualify for the final in the Asian Games in Jakarta last month, also failed to earn a single penalty corner this time.
India dominated the match and created a few good chances. They also earned three penalty corners but were let down by poor finishing.
Malaysia’s slightly-built defender Faiz Helmi Jali was named the man of the match for his good defending.
Malaysia and India are tied on 10 points with three wins and a draw but India top the standings because of a better goal difference.
Malaysia last played Pakistan in the Asian Games last month where Malaysia were outplayed 4-1 in the group match.
Muhd Amirol Aided Mohd Arshad suffered a hamstring injury against India and will be doubtful for the Pakistan game.
National coach Roelant Oltmans was happy with the outcome against India although he felt they didn’t have enough ball possession.
“I’m proud of the team’s effort in defence. The players worked hard and were disciplined.
“We didn’t give many opportunities to a team who have already scored 23 goals in the first three matches.
“The important thing is to recover from two back-to-back tough matches. And once we’ve recovered, I would like to see a better performance and better ball possession,” said the 64-year-old Dutchman.