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Asia Cup hockey: Unbeaten Malaysia, gritty Korea march into Super 4s

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Jakarta, May 26 (Ajit Weekly News) A spirited Malaysia marched into the Super 4s of Asia Cup as the table-toppers from Pool B with a big 8-1 win against Bangladesh in their last preliminary league match here at the GBK Sports Arena on Thursday. South Korea, on the other hand, defeated Oman 5-1 to finish second in Pool B to stay in contention for a World Cup spot.

Malaysia continued to showcase their winning mentality in the tournament, with a disciplined and well-structured performance. Relying on their biggest strength of creating penalty corners, the Malaysians converted three out of the seven PCs they bagged and scored a goal from two penalty strokes they earned.

Experienced Razie Rahim put the Malaysians ahead by 2-0 in the first quarter with a brilliantly struck penalty stroke awarded in the 4th minute due to a deliberate infringement by Bangladeshi defenders inside the striking circle.

Rahim then struck a beautifully-converted penalty corner in the 14th minute. Though Bangladesh recovered from a poor start to bounce back in the second quarter with a penalty corner goal from Ashraful Islam in the 21st minute, they could not keep the Malaysian forward line from creating chances.

Faizal Saari scored a splendid field goal in the 24th minute to pull Malaysia ahead 3-1 while his Rahim scored from a PC in the 30th minute to extend the lead to 4-1 at half-time.

Malaysia pumped up the ante in the third and fourth quarters, converting from the chances they created. Faizal Saari struck a 31st-minute field goal setting the right momentum for the second half of the play. In the 41st minute, Malaysia scored from a well-converted PC by Najmi Jazlan giving them a 6-1 lead, the organisers informed in a release on Thursday.

In the final quarter, Saari scored his third goal in the 46th minute, and Ashran Hamsani ended the proceedings with a field goal in the 60th minute, thus finishing the match with a strong 8-1 on the scoreboard.

“We believe we can win the Asia Cup 2022 and we are playing with the mentality to win every match we play here. We are happy to go into the Super 4s as an unbeaten team and would like to continue this momentum,” stated Faizal Saari.

Korea keep title hopes alive

Korea came up with a fine performance to defeat Oman 5-1 and make their way into the Super 4s.

Their stylish drag-flick specialist Jong-hyun Jang fetched the team’s first goal in the 11th minute which set the ball rolling for the Asian Champions Trophy title holders. Hyeong-jin Kim then extended the lead to 2-1 in the 19th minute. Aliyas Al-Noufali of Bangladesh brought some respite for his team when he scored a scintillating field goal in the 22nd minute and reduce the lead to 1-2 ahead of the half-time break.

But two back-to-back goals in the 33rd minute via penalty corner scored by Taeil Hwang and Jihun Yang put further pressure on Bangladesh. The 4-1 lead was increased to 5-1 when Jun-woo Jeong struck a field goal in the 45th minute and Korea defended this score in the final quarter.

–Ajit Weekly News

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