AN under-strength Malaysian hockey team were beaten 3-1 by an experimental Australian side in their first test match at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
Malaysia started the match without first choice goalkeeper S. Kumar, midfielder Jivan Mohan and forward Kelvinder Singh who were on Deepavali break,
Their absence gave coach Tai Beng Hai the opportunity to test fringe players. Second choice goalkeeper Khairulnizam Ibrahim gave a good account of himself with several splendid saves despite playing behind a leaky Malaysian defence.
|Malaysia’s Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (right) is chased by an Australia player in their friendly match at Tun Razak Stadium yesterday. Australia won 3-1. Pic: MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN|
The Malaysian strikeforce, led by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin could hardly create goal scoring opportunities. They only earned one penalty corner in the match.
It was evident that the absence of Ismail Abu and Chua Boon Huat has affected the team's frontline.
Australia, without eight first choice players, were in total command throughout the match.
Glenn Turner was Australia's hero when he scored a double -- in the 16th and 65th minute. The visitors' other goal was by David Guest in the 49th minute.
Malaysia replied through S. Selvaraju's field attempt in the 32nd minute.
Beng Hai, who is using the test matches to gauge the team's performance ahead of the World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand on Nov 7-15, said: "Performance-wise, my players did well and I am confident they will improve in the next few matches.
Malaysia will face Australia in their second test match at the same venue today (6pm).