KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia got off to a winning start in the MHF Under-19 international invitational hockey tournament with a comfortable 3-1 win over South Korea at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil here yesterday.
The Malaysians had trailed by an early goal and also missed a penalty stroke in the game. But they still found enough firepower to walk off with a win.
The victory is also a morale booster for the Malaysians as they face India in their second match today.
The Koreans as usual were fast but they failed to make their chances count. Credit must be given to the Malaysians for having the ability to attack and defend in numbers. This was what gave them the edge over their rivals.
In the first half, the hosts went on the attack and had the Koreans pinned in their half. But after just five minutes the Malaysians found themselves trailing.
In a quick counter attack, the Koreans took advantage of a gap on the right and managed to score when Woo Dae-myung slotted from the top D to beat goalkeeper Khairul Nizam.
This stung the Malaysians and they soon got back their rhythm and soon held control.
They drew level in the 20th minute through their second penalty corner.
Megat Azrafiq saw his first shot blocked by a defender but managed to hit the rebound which sailed into the net from top D.
Two minutes later, the Malaysians were granted a penalty stroke. But Megat sent a weak flick to the left which was well read by goalkeeper Kim Jae-young.
Undeterred the Malaysians kept up the assault and were rewarded in the 30th minute from a field goal by Mohamed Redza Maadun.
The youngsters sealed the match through their third goal in the 52nd minute when Mohamed Fakhrulradzi unleashed a hefty hit from the top D.
In the opening match, reigning junior World Cup champions India scored a goal in each half to beat Pakistan 2-0 to maintain their winning run against their neighbours in junior tournaments.
Both teams met four month ago in Cairo in a four-nation meet and the Indians won 3-0.
Yesterday, the Pakistanis continued their barren run when they failed to score in their fourth consecutive match.
The team came out of the Cairo tournament without scoring a single goal as they lost all three matches.
India’s forward Gurucharan Singh was the hero as he scored both goals.
His first was a flick from a penalty corner setpiece in the 10th minute.
He flicked high to the left to beat Pakistani goalkeeper Mohamed Adeel Anwar.
In the 47th minute he found the net again with a field goal after a goalmouth melee.
India coach Harinder Singh said that he was happy that his charges carried out the instructions to the letter.
“That was important for us. We had planned certains things and we were able to see if they worked.
“ This is only the second tournament for the players and for nine of them it is their first . So we are happy with the win.”