KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia put on a fighting display despite going down 2-4 to world champions Germany in their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Although Malaysia went behind to a 17th minute Bjorn Michel goal, they hit back to take the lead with goals by Ismail Abu in the 21st minute and Mohamed Amin Rahim in the 47th minute.
But the Germans, who are so good at soaking up the pressure and hitting back on the counter-attack, slowly but surely worked their way back to score three late goals to break Malaysian hearts.
Bjorn Emmerling (59th minute), Michel (67th minute) and Tobias Hentschel (69th minute) got the other German goals.
The Malaysians took to the field yesterday and turned in one of their most disciplined games ever, with every player committed to the cause.
Malaysia also have goalkeeper S. Kumar to thank for keeping the score down as he saved no less than six sure goals.
Despite having played a tough match against Spain on Thursday, Malaysia adopted an aggressive approach against the Germans.
Coach Paul Lissek made two changes in the final 16, bringing S. Shanker and Nishel Kumar into the team and resting Mohd Shukri Mutalib and Mohd Riduan Nasir.
The starting 11 was almost the same, except that Chua Boon Huat played as a forward instead of as a defender.
Lissek maintained the back four line-up of S. Kuhan, K. Logan Raj, Mohd Amin Rahim and K. Gobinathan and it paid off initially as Malaysia's defence stood firm.
There was only one penalty corner in the first half and that went the Germans’ way in the 17th minute. It was also the opening the Germans wanted as Michel flicked the ball past goalkeeper Kumar.
Undaunted, Malaysia fought back and equalised in the 21st minute when Ismail stole the ball from German defender Phillip Crone to slot home.
Malaysia earned their first penalty corner in the 47th minute. Kuhan's attempt hit Crone’s leg and Malaysia were awarded apenalty stroke, which Mohamed Amin cooly converted. Malaysia 2-1.
After several close call, Germany finally equalised in the 59th minute through a penalty corner variation by Emmerling.
Malaysia then caved in as Germany scored twice in two minutes.
First Michel made it 3-2 in the 67th minute off another penalty corner. Then, two minutes later, Hentschel sealed the German win with a fine field goal.