Pic from FIH Website
Malaysia registered their second win in the Champions Challenge in Argentina when they defeated South Korea 4-2.
The win puts them on the top of the standings in Pool A and a win or draw against Canada in their final preliminary round match on Tuesday will set up a possible quarterfinal match against either South Africa or Ireland.
Ironically both teams were formerly coached by Paul Revington, who took charge of the Malaysian team this August.
Revs was naturally pleased with the winning starts and shared with this blog his thoughts:
"The pleasing aspects have been the willingness on behalf of all the players to listen to what we are asking them to do, and then to have the courage and confidence to put it into practice," said Revington.
"The players are working really hard in all areas - and especially mentally - to be able to deal with all the continual improvements we are challenging them with on an individual and team level.
"It is never easy beating a quality team like Korea - and especially to score 4 goals like we did. The team were a bit frustrated with their performance in the final 8-10 minutes and they are continually pushing themselves to perform more consistently for longer.
"I am pleased the senior players and leaders are contributing so much quality and, although the event is only two games old, I am confident this leadership will get stronger and stronger.
"A "clean sheet" is hard to come by in international hockey so I am extremely pleased too!
"Canada will be a tough opponent as always and we will need to work extremely hard and perform to a very high level if we are to beat them."
For the record, Malaysia's last win over South Korea in a competetive match was registered at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2011 where Malaysia won 3-1.
And the last defeat at the hands of the Koreans was at the 2012 edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup where Malaysia lost 3-2 in the playoff for the 5/6th placing.
While it is good that Malaysia has registered two wins, it is pertinent to note that winning the quarterfinal match is vital to improve our rankings and improve on last year's finish. The matches in the group stage are to determine rankings for the last eight stage.
Match Report from FIH
In the clash of the Asian representatives in pool A at the Argentina Hockey Champions Challenge 1 today, things seemed to take their expected course when Korea scored an early goal through penalty corner specialist Jang Jong Hyun.
Malaysia had different plans however, and fought back with determination. An 18th minute penalty corner from Muhammad Razie Abd Rahim set the balance back to start, and a blitz hit yielding two goals in about a minute towards the end of the first half, both at the hands of Tengku Ahmad Tajudin Abdul Jalil, established a comfortable lead already.
In the second half, Chua Boon Huat piled on another against a Korean team that didn't seem able to find a way to deal with the speedy Malaysians strikers. Malaysia had a number of further opportunities but it was Korea that scored with about ten minutes left on the clock, once more at the hands of Jang Jong Hyun.
But it was too little too late for Korea, and the Malaysian team celebrated the final whistle that spelt out a 4-2 win for them.