Monday, April 28, 2014

Not up to the challenge

MALAYSIA were soundly beaten 3-1 by South Korea in a Group B hockey match of the Champions Challenge I in Kuantan yesterday.

    After a break today, they play Canada next and it will not be an easy match as yesterday, the Canadians beat France 3-2. Malaysia had lost to France on Friday by the same margin.

   However, the tournament format will see all eight teams from Group A and Group B play in the quarter-finals, and Malaysia might just draw the short straw and play against raging favourites New Zealand in the cross-over if they end at the bottom of the pool.

   Coach K. Dharmaraj's men went looking for an early lead but found the going tough as the forward-line lacked direction in the first 10 minutes of the match.

   However, 12 minutes into the match, Malaysian won their first penalty corner and Ahmad Kazamirul sailed it over the bar.

    The Koreans soaked in the pressure and relied on counters, and finally won their first penalty corner in the 18th minute and Nam Hyun Woo made it count with a low push to the board for the lead.

   Malaysia had two more penalty corners to draw level, but Shahril Saabah's drive hit the post and rebounded out in the 21st, while Kazamirul's attempt in the 32nd minute was saved by goalkeeper Lee Myung Ho.

   Two minutes into the re-start, You Hyo Sik made it 2-0 with a reverse stick drive which went between the legs of goalkeeper S. Kumar.

    And by the 50th minute, South Korea completed the rout with another penalty corner goal from Jang Jong Hyun. Ismail Abu scored the consolation in the 67th minute for Malaysia.

South Korea’s Jang Jong Hyun (third from left) celebrates his goal against Malaysia in their Champions Challenge 1 match in Kuantan yesterday. Bernama pic

By JUGJET SINGH |  Read more: HOCKEY: Not up to the challenge - Other - New Straits Times

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