The Speedy Tigers fought hard but luck was not on their side as they went down 1-2 to Korea in their fourth match of the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, Ipoh tonight.
After a 2-4 loss to 5th ranked India last night, 13th ranked Malaysia, who needed a win to reignite their hopes of reaching the final, started the game full of intent but couldn’t find a breakthrough in the first quarter.
They managed to put the ball past goalkeeper, Kim Jaehyeon at the end of the first quarter but Muhammad Firhan Ashari’s strike was ruled out after consulting video evidence as it was judged to hit his back stick.
Malaysia, who were gunning for their first title since the tournament’s inception in 1983, earned their first penalty corner in the 19thminute but Jaehyeon was equal to the task, tipping away Muhammad Razie Abd Rahim’s shot.
After weathering the early storm, Korea, got their noses in front through their captain, Lee Namyong, who expertly turned before firing a shot past goalkeeper, Muhammad Hairi Rahman at the start of the second half.
Roelant Oltman’s side pushed for the equaliser and earned a series of penalty corners but Shin Seok Kyo’s team needed only one, their first in the 35th, converted by penalty corner specialist, Jang Jonghyun to extend their lead.
Malaysia continued to push hard and through their eighth penalty corner, Razie finally sounded the board in the 46th minute. They earned another three penalty corners in the remaining minutes of the game but the Korean defence managed to hold firm.
Oltmans during the post-match press conference lamented Malaysia’s luck in the game which saw three goals disallowed in the latter stages of the game which turned the match in Korea’s favour.
“We created a high percentage of chances but we didn’t manage to convert them. We had three goals disallowed.
“We need a bit of luck, if the umpire had kept his whistle in his pocket, maybe the scoreline would have turned out differently,” said the Dutchman.
With this win, Korea will meet India in the final this Saturday with one more match left to play, while Malaysia can only hope for at best 3rd placing with the Malaysians due to meet Canada on Friday to complete the round robin fixtures.
Five-time champions, India, have qualified for their eighth final after trouncing Canada 7-3.
In the other match, Asian Games champions, Japan finally broke their duck in the tournament, winning their first match after four attempts with a 3-0 victory over Poland.
With this loss, Poland are rooted at the bottom of the mini league and will battle for the 5th/6th placing.
Poland 0 Japan 3
Canada 3 India 7
29th March (Friday)
India vs Poland, 4.05 pm
Korea vs Japan, 6.05 pm
Malaysia vs Canada 8.35 pm