Malaysia were outstanding in their last effort to beat defending champions Korea 2-1 in an exciting Pool B encounter at the Hero Asia Cup 2017 being held at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium on Saturday.
It was goals by Faizal Saari (17′) and Azri Hassan (19′) that ensured Malaysia topped the points table in Pool B and make the cut for Super 4s stage with their second successive win.
If India Vs Pakistan encounter is touted as the most-anticipated game of Hero Asia Cup 2017, the Malaysia Vs Korea was expected to be the most exciting encounter in Pool B.
With Malaysia showcasing some significant improvement in their performance this year, having beaten higher ranked teams to finish fourth in the Hero Hockey World League Semi Final in London, Korea wore the tag of defending champions who have won maximum number of titles in Asia Cup history.
On winning the match, Malaysian National Coach, Stephen van Huizen said,
“We are happy with the win but I would have liked to see our team score more goals. Both our goals today came off PCs and while we want to continue to improve on our PCs , scoring field goals too remains a priority for us and we will use the Oman game to test the areas we want to improve ahead of the Super 4s.”
Oman has only played twice in the Asia Cup, with the last one being in Ipoh in 2013 where they ended sixth. Oman need a miracle to deny Malaysia full points to top the group, while for Malaysia, it’s how many goals they want to score.
“No disrespect to the Oman players, as I aim to use this game as a warm-up before the ‘real tournament’ starts,” said van Huizen.