Monday, May 28, 2012

Faizal eyes India scalp

FAIZAL Saari saved Malaysia twice, and now he aims to claim their first win against India in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh tomorrow.
   Malaysia drew 1-1 with South Korea, courtesy of a Fazial goal, and then he helped Malaysia come back from the jaws of death by scoring two goals in the last three minutes for a 3-3 draw against Olympic hosts Britain.
   The 21-year-old Terengganu-born player, with 80 caps to his name, was also instrumental in handing Malaysia their first Junior Asia Cup gold as he scored six goals to be the top-scorer in Malacca.
   "The feeling is really good going into the India game, as we have had a two-day rest, and also, the comeback against Britain was just the boost we needed in this tournament," said Faizal who also scored in the Dublin Olympic Qualifier.
   Malaysia, wooden spoonists in the last edition, must beat India at all cost to make sure they finish in the middle of the pool.
   "This tournament is very important for me as we were given a chance to play against six teams which have already qualified for the Olympics.
   "We must learn from every match, as we build a side for the (senior) World Cup Qualifier (next year)," said Fazial.
   Coach Tai Beng Hai's charges last played India in the Champions Challenge II in South Africa and lost 5-4 in the quarter-finals last year. Before that, Malaysia had beaten India 4-3 in the semi-finals of the Asian Games.
   "The plan is simple, we must beat India to have a good finish in this tournament and it is not an impossible target. We did beat them in the Asian Games, and then they beat us narrowly in the Champions Challenge," said Beng Hai.
   After India, Malaysia play Pakistan and could end up with eight points with the New Zealand and Argentina matches in hand -- if the coach plays his cards right.
   TODAY: South Korea v Pakistan (4pm), Britain v Argentina (6pm), India v Malaysia (8pm).
   WEDNESDAY: Argentina v India (4pm), Britain v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan v Malaysia (8pm).