Malaysia had to work hard for their third successive victory in the Hero Asian Champions Trophy at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex here on Monday, overcoming South Korea 4-2 to secure a place in the semi-finals.
Asian Games silver medallists Malaysia will take on defending champions India in their league encounter tomorrow.
This will be the first meeting between Malaysia and India since their semi-final clash in the Jakarta Asian Games, where Malaysia posted a shock win to advance to the final.
Malaysia are now level on nine points with India from three matches each at the top of the standings.
Malaysia today took the lead through Firhan Ashari in the 11th minute, but the Koreans shot back to surge 2-1 ahead with goals from Yang Ji-Hun (15th minute) and Jang Jong-Hyun (20th).
Shahril Saabah brought Malaysia level in the 22nd minute, but the issue was decided through goals from Tengku Tajuddin (35th) and Faizal Saari (57th).
Saabah was unlucky to see his shot rebound off the left post in the 53rd minutes.
Malaysia’s coach, Roelant Oltmans said the team had attained its first target of making the semi-finals, but were made to work hard by the fast-moving Koreans.
“In the beginning we were searching what way to play. The important thing is that we scored four goals.
The Koreans can be very tough opponents,” said Oltmans.
“Malaysia has a new coach. It is a new environment for the boys and we continue to understand each other,” said Oltmans, who took over as the Malaysian coach after the Asian Games.
Oltmans, who was India’s coach until last year, said it is important for his players to recover quickly in time for the game against India tomorrow.
“I need to see how my team recovers from this game. I will look at India’s matches tonight.
India has played well and got a bit more goals than us in three games so far,” he said.