Outplayed by the Kiwis
The Malaysian Tigers suffered their third defeat in the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at Stadium Azlan Shah, Ipoh on Wednesday, May 3. They lost 0-1 to New Zealand.
Despite numerous chances, their efforts came to nought when defender Kane Russell’s drag flick from a penalty corner found the net, 25 minutes into the game.
The defeat ended Malaysia’s hopes of securing a spot in the third-fourth classification match, although they still have a game against India on Friday. The outcome, however, is inconsequential. It will not change anything as the home team, with only one miserly point after four matches, is languishing at the bottom of the table after Japan.
Having lost two previous games to the gritty Kiwis, Stephen is still optimistic. He felt the team had played well and had improved, especially in the last two matches.
“Looking at the results, I agree we’re down, as we didn’t win any games in the tournament. But the last two matches showed that we can really fight. Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on our side,” he told reporters.
He felt that the team needs to improve on the execution of penalty corners, as the boys had squandered all seven penalty corners obtained thus far.
“We tried variations of set piece but none worked. We need to improve in this area,” he remarked.
Although fans were hoping for a goal in the third and fourth quarters after some brilliant moves, Malaysia could still not score when it matters.
National Junior Squad goalkeeper, Hafizuddin Othman, took to the field while veteran goalkeeper S. Kumar was rested.
The result saw the Kiwis consolidating their fourth spot with seven points behind Australia (10), India (7) and Great Britain (7). Goal difference determines the positioning.
Results of earlier matches: India defeated Japan 4-3 while Great Britain lost to Australia 1-2.
Nabilah Hamudin and Leanne Tan