Hockey: Oman impress despite defeat to Malaysia in Asia Cup
October 16, 2017 | 6:32 PM
by Times News Service
Action from the match between Oman and Malaysia in Asia Cup in Dhaka on Monday. Photo - AHF

Muscat: Oman put up a spirited fight despite going down to Malaysia, suffering their third successive defeat in the ongoing AHF Asia Cup in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka on Monday.

According to news posted on Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) website, Malaysia notched up a formidable 7-1 win against Oman in their final Pool B match at the Moulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium.

While the result ensured Malaysia went into the Super 4s as table toppers in Pool B with three successive victories, Oman will now have fight it out in the classification matches.

Oman team’s Indian coach K.K. Poonacha said: “It was a very good match. They (Malaysia) are a good side and had no pressure as they have already qualified for the Super 4s.

“Our boys played with pressure, the worry was to not concede too many goals and wanted to focus on defence and marking. But they had a very good second and third quarter.”

“Next, we have to do well against Japan to finish in a higher ranking. That will be our focus now,” Poonacha added.

First quarter belonged to Oman

It was supposed to be an easy encounter for Malaysia but the bottom-ranked Oman were spirited in their endeavor to put up a fight. The first quarter belonged to Oman as they created chances in Malaysia’s circle and also stood strong against Malaysian counter-attack, denying them any goal.

A pep talk by Malaysia coach Stephen van Huizen during the two-minute break ahead of the second quarter, seemed to make a big difference to his team as they scored as many as five goals in the quarter.

It was dragflick specialist Faizal Saari who scored the first goal in the opening minute of the second quarter. Then Tengku Tajuddin was quick in his circle entry and impressive with his ball handling skills as he scored in the 18th minute to double the lead. Tajuddin scored again in the 23rd minute after Shahril Saabah took the team’s lead to 3-0 in the 20th minute.

Oman found a breakthrough when they won a penalty corner in the 25th minute and Salmeen Al Nofali improvised the injection to fiercely put the ball past experienced Malaysian goalkeeper Kumar Subramiam. Oman’s goal hardly perturbed the Malaysian attack as they scored another field goal via Faizal Saari in the 27th minute to take a 5-1 lead into the half-time.

After the rbeak, Oman earned a few short corners but failed to utilise them. Meanwhile, Malaysia were not the ones to miss out on penalty corners as Amirol Arshad (40th) and Najmi Jazlan (42th) scored with impressive dragflicks to make 7-1.

Malaysia’s coach Stephen van Huizen said: “I am happy we won comfortably and we look forward to Super 4s. Every match henceforth will be tough and we have to be our best in all three matches to make the final.”

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