THE Malaysian hockey team lost 2-0 to world No 6 Spain in a friendly last night, but coach Tai Beng Hai felt a draw would have been a fairer result.
The team is in Europe to play a series on friendlies, and will play another match with the Spain seniors before wrapping up their fixtures.
Yesterday, the coach rested No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar and fielded Roslan Jamaluddin as he prepares a team for the Olympic Qualifiers early next year.
“We started slow as we had to fall back into our own defense because of frequent interchanging between the Spanish midfielders.
“Play for both sides mostly revolved around midfield and counter-attacks to break the deadlock in the first 15 minutes of the match. However, we had better possession in the second half and could have forced a draw but for muffed chances,” said Beng Hai.
Malaysia had four penalty corners and failed to convert any, while the Spanish had eight and scored one.
“We had a chance to draw level after Spain scored in the 29th minute, but were unfortunate that the ball bounced awkwardly in the final moment after a good transfer among four players.
“And the 66th minute penalty corner goal from Spain shut the door for at least a draw as we were keeping possession and pushing forward at that moment,” lamented Beng Hai.
The first goal resulted from a long corner where the Spanish right wing dribbled into the left side of the Malaysian circle. He them pushes a harmless ball across the goal but defender Amin Rahim left his man on the far post and tried to intercept it at the near post.
Just then an rushing goalkeeper Roslan tried to kick the ball but was blocked by Amin. The loose ball rolled past the front of the Malaysian goal to the unmarked Pau Quemada at the far post for him to stop, and then push it in.
As for the second goal, it resulted from a Spanish sideline free-hit which was taken quickly and in the two v two situation, the Spanish player crossed each other but the umpire allowed play.
Our players were slow to react and the player with the ball dribbled into the circle with erase.
Amin tackled the player and the umpire interpreted the tackle as stick check and awarded a penalty corner which resulted Jamie Dabanch scoring with a right high flick to beat Roslan.