THE national hockey team looked lethargic as they lost the first friendly 2-1 against Japan at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
Coach Tai Beng Hai has four more matches against the Japanese during the fasting month, to test their endurance as the London Olympics will also be held during the fasting month.
Malaysia played in patches and the second minute goal was a defensive blunder which made Toshiro Tachibana's task of tucking in the ball past goalkeeper S. Kumar like a text-book drill.
Japan were on top of Malaysia most of the firsthalf, but were denied a bigger lead as Kumar stopped a handful of point-blank shot.
However, Malaysia scored the equaliser off a rare attack in the 23rd minute of the match, when Faizal Saari sounded the board.
After the breather, Malaysia kept losing the ball while the Japanese had a field day again, and Ryuji Farusato made it 2-1 with a deft field goal in the 47th minute to retake the lead.
And the Japanese kept the lead for the remainder of the match and won the first friendly with ease.
The second friendly will be held today at 6.50pm.