Midfield general Mohd Fitri Saari has had two quiet matches at the Asian Games hockey event.
But after scoring one goal in the 10-0 win over Thailand at the GBK Hockey Stadium on Wednesday, the Terengganu lad believes that he has surely overcome his recent poor form.“Yes, I was not playing well and was not up to my usual mark. But with the goal against Thailand, I felt much better and eager to move on.
“I will be better in the next game and will try my best to score again,” he said yesterday.
The Malaysians face Bangladesh in a crucial tie where they need to win at all cost.
Fitri said there are no two ways about. They must win or face a difficult two matches in the Group B later.
“Yes, it is obvious that we need to beat Bangladesh so that we can go into the next two matches with greater confidence and make our task a little easier.
“It is good the team is playing well. We are making good use of the chances and we see different players scoring. We need to be consistent and keep the mistakes down.
“And I have to improve my game as well so that the forwards will have the support they need,” he added.
After the Bangladesh game, the Malaysians will play Pakistan on Sunday and then Oman in their final group match on Tuesday.
Malaysian started their campaign with a 16-2 win over Kazakhstan and then defeated Thailand in their second match.
Fitri agreed that their main task now is on making the semi-finals.
“There is no point thinking far ahead. We must take one match at a time and then move forward.
“Bangladesh has six points just like us and we cannot afford to lose ground. I want to ensure that we are ready for any eventuality.
“I hope to use this game to improve and be ready for the crunch match against Pakistan,” he said.
Malaysia tops the group on better goal difference while Pakistan is in second place followed by Bangladesh. All three teams have two wins each.
Bangladesh defeated Oman 2-1 and Kazakhstan 6-1.
Bangladesh coach K. Gobinathan said the Malaysians are the favorites to win the tie.
“We have to admit that they are better and based on their ranking should win. We have nothing to lose and will go all out. A lot will depend on my layers form and whether they can keep their structure. They have to be disciplined when playing or we will face a difficult time on the pitch,” he said.
The match between the two teams is at 12 noon (1 pm Malaysian time).
The heat will be a factor for both teams.