THE Malaysian seniors salvaged some pride when the beat China 4-2 in the third friendlies at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Two more friendlies are slated for Tuesday and Wednesday, and Malaysia need to win both to keep a psychological advantage over the China side in future tournaments.
Coach Tai Beng Hai's men played much better game than the first two defeats, but still muffed sitters and went into the dressing room trailing the visiting China side.
The seniors lost the first match 2-1, and the second 4-1, after which the China side were soundly beaten by the Project 2013 side 6-2 on Saturday.
And while the Malaysian seniors enjoyed two rest days, China played back-to-back against Project 2013 and then the seniors yesterday, but were still the more spirited side.
The script was the same yesterday, as China scored off their first penalty corner in the 26th minute just like the previous two matches against the senior side, and went into the dressing room to plot another win.
However, Malaysia won their third penalty corner of the match in the 47th minute, and this time, Amin Rahim's low flick sounded the board to inject some hope into the match.
China immediately mounted a attack after the restart, but were stopped at the top of the Malaysian semi-circle, and a counter saw the ball reaching Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin at the China goalmouth, and he cooly beat a player and slotted in a reverse stick lead in the 50th minute.
And that was the tonic needed for Firhan Ashaari to score the third goal in the 55th minute, off a goalmouth melee.
Malaysia then got their fourth goal off a botched penalty corner which was salvaged by defender Razie Rahim with a powerful hit in the 61st minute.
China pulled one back in the 64th minute, but the score stood at 4-2 in favour of Malaysia.