Malaysia Reach Asia Cup Final
The Malaysian men’s indoor hockey team surprisingly held world No 13 Kazakhstan 1-1 in Bangkok today, and for that, was rewarded with a place in the Asia Cup final. - Pic courtesy of MHCKUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian men's indoor hockey team surprisingly held world No 13 Kazakhstan 1-1 in Bangkok today, and for that, was rewarded with a place in the Asia Cup final.
And world No 21 Malaysia have the chance for revenge as they will meet No 3 Iran in the title decider tomorrow.
In the seven-team round-robin days earlier, Malaysia went down 3-0 to Iran.
The Malaysian men's team took the lead through Aslam Hanafiaha in the 22nd minute off a penalty stroke, but Kazakhstan equalised with Daulet Urmanov finding the mark in the 30th minute.
"Kazakhstan have played at World Cup level and were a robust team but my players took their game to a new high to hold them and reach the final," said Malaysia coach Amin Rahim.
At the end of the round-robin, Iran led with 18 points while Malaysia, Kazakhstan and Indonesia had identical 11 points each from six matches. But Malaysia, with 18 goals, had better goal difference than Indonesia (12) and Kazakhstan (11) to make the final.
"After eight years Malaysia are finally back into the final of the Asia Cup and so we will go for a historic golden finish, something we have yet to achieve in the Asia Cup," said Amin.
"When we played Iran in the round-robin and lost 3-0, our players did not perform to their capabilities and gave away too many penalty corners and also wasted the penalty corners.
"We will have to do the reverse in penalty corners in the final for a shot at gold."
For the record, Iran have won all eight gold since the tournament's inception in 2008.
The Malaysian women's team will play Kazakhstan for bronze today. - NST
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