IPOH: Malaysia put up a strong challenge against favourites Iran before going down 2-3 in the final of the inaugural men’s indoor Asia Cup hockey tournament at the Indera Mulia Stadium here yesterday.
In the preliminary round-robin match last Friday, Malaysia were thrashed 0-7 by the Iranians.
In the final yesterday, Karimi Mohammed gave Iran the lead in the 12th minute but four minutes later, Malaysia equalised through S. Kuhan off a penalty stroke.
Iran regained the lead in the second half through Malik Ahmadi in the 30th minute. Malaysia had the chance to equalise again two minutes later but Kuhan failed to convert the penalty stroke. Iran increased the lead through Bohlouli Masoud in 39th minute and a minute later, Kuhan converted a penalty corner to reduce the deficit.
Malaysia’s team manager Kenneth Pereira said that he was satisfied with the team for giving a strong performance in the final.
“The players played to instruction and matched the experienced Iranians in every department.
We were just unlucky not to convert a penalty stroke in the second half. I am overall happy with the players’ commitment in the tournament,’’ he said.
Uzbekistan defeated Malaysia B 5-2 to bag the bronze medal. The scorers for Uzbekistan were Nasurdaer Nariman (1st, 23rd), Sibear Romen (17th, 31st) and Qalendarov Golib (13th). Malaysia B replied through Mohd Hafiz Zakaria (9th) and G. Sasidharan (35th).
Singapore came back from a goal down to edged Thailand 3-1 in the playoff for fifth place.