JOHOR BHARU: The back pain never seems to go away.
Another leaky performance at the back has seen Malaysia’s dreams of making the final of the Sultan of Johor Cup dashed after they lost 3-2 to Britain at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium on Wedneday.
Two quick goals in the first six minutes was all it took to snuff out Malaysia’s challenge as Benjamin Boon put Britain ahead in the fifth minute before David Goodfield made it 2-0 a minute later.
Although forward Mohd Sufi Ismat Rohulamin narrowed the deficit in the 36th minute, Britain restored their two-goal cushion when Luke Taylor scored off a penalty corner drag flick in the 62nd minute.
The defeat leaves Malaysia with just one point from two defeats and a draw. Malaysia, who lost 2-1 to Australia and drew 1-1 with New Zealand, have two matches left – against India on Thursday and Pakistan on Saturday.
Britain top the standings with the maximum nine points from three matches, having beaten Pakistan 5-0 and India 2-0.
National Juniors coach S. Arulselvaraj was disappointed with the individual errors committed in the match.
“They lacked concentration ... we need to get a mental trainer in to help the players,” said Arulselvaraj.
“I’m proud of the players for fighting back in the second-half but I wish we had more time to get the equaliser.
“I hope the players will give their best against India tomorrow (Thursday).”
Britain coach Jon Bleby labelled it as “the toughest game we’ve played so far”.
“We did well to take an early a 2-0 lead. But the Malaysian players came back strongly after the breather.
“It was not one of our best performances in the tournament. But we did well to collect full points.
“We can expect another tough match against the unbeaten Australia tomorrow,” said Bleby.