Wiser Malaysia to tread with caution against China

13-Oct-2017 Intellasia | The Star Online | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Malaysia have learned their lessons and will not take China lightly in their opening Asia Cup Group B match at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh, today.

The last time these two teams met in the final of the World Hockey League Round Two in Dhaka in March Malaysia had to come back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in regulation time before going on to win 5-3 in a penalty shootout.

Surely, world No. 13 Malaysia can expect a stiffer challenge from world No. 18 China this time.

To make it more interesting, China have to win the tournament if they want to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Bhu-baneswar, India.

With Malaysia, India and Pakistan having already qualified for the World Cup, the Asia Cup offers the one remaining ticket.

And that’s something national chief coach Stephen van Huisen is aware of.

“They (China) will be very motivated to do well as they haven’t confirmed their place in the World Cup,” he said.

The others teams in Group B are defending champions South Korea and Oman.

Group A comprises India, Japan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Stephen expects his men to give it their all despite having qualified for the World Cup.

“I expect our players to be fully focused right from the first start. Our objective is to finish in the top two in the group and qualify for the Super Four.

“We want to have as a good start as possible to help us settle down in the tournament,” said Stephen.

“We had two good training sessions and we are ready. The players looked a bit sharper in training today compared to yesterday as they’ve had a good rest.

“Our players are ready and we will treat every team with respect.”



Category: Malaysia

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