MALAYSIA played in patches, while Pakistan were brilliant when chances came their
way, to win the crucial Asia Cup match 4-1 at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh
With the win, Pakistan are virtually assured of the top spot in Group A, as they next
play Taiwan, while Malaysia must beat Japan to play in the semi-finals.
"We did discuss about the possiblity of the last match (against Japan) might just
turn out to be the decider and now we have to plan to beat them to play in the semi-
finals," said Malaysian coach Paul Revington.
Seasoned striker Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin summed up the Pakistan defeat: "We did
not have enough strikers in the semi-cirlce to score goals, as Pakistan defended in
numbers and relied on counters.
"Against Japan, we need to open up the match upfront, and the strikers must avoid
tight marking," said Tengku Ahmad.
Malaysia played controlled hockey, but the formation broke 15 minutes into the
match after Firhan Ashaari, and then Baljit Singh were flashed the green card within
minutes of each other.
And while they were both warming the bench, nine-man Malaysia were placed under
tremendous pressure and Pakistan won their first penalty corner in the 16th minute.
But poor trapping saw them bungle the chance, and Malaysia started attacking again
after both the benched players were called in back.
Pakistan got their second break in the 20th minute, when goalkeeper S. Kumar was
the only man to beat, but Muhammad Dilber slammed the ball wide instead of trying to
dribble the goalkeeper.
Malaysia did not disappoint their fans when they won their first penalty corner in
the 25th minute, and Razie Rahim's low drive floated past a sea of legs to sound the
board for the lead.
The match turned turned into a highly entertaining duel, as Pakistan went looking for
the equaliser before the break, and Zubair Mohammed nailed it in the 33rd minute off a
Malaysia tried to re-gain the lead after the breather, but Pakistan defended stoutly,
with at least five players for every Malaysian on the ball.
And in the 45th minute, off their rare second half counter, Zubair got the last touch to
score his second goal and give his team the lead.
Pakistan sealed the match in the 60th minute, when Fitri Shaari deflected in an
own goal, and then a deflection off S. Kumar's pads gave them another own goal for a
comfortable 4-1 win.
In Group B, defending champions South Korea played their first game, but were on
fire to hammer Bangladesh 9-0, after taking a 4-0 lead in the first half.
Today, South Korea play India, to decide who tops the group.
P W D L F A Pts
PAKISTAN 2 2 0 0 11 1 6
MALAYSIA 2 1 0 1 11 6 3
JAPAN 2 1 0 1 5 8 3
TAIWAN 2 0 0 2 3 15 0
P W D L F A Pts
INDIA 1 1 0 0 8 0 3
S KOREA 1 1 0 0 9 0 3
B'DESH 1 0 0 1 0 9 0
OMAN 1 0 0 1 0 8 0
RESULTS -- South Korea 9 Bangladesh 0, Japan 5 Taiwan 1, Pakistan 4 Malaysia 1.
FIXTURES: Aug 26: Bangladesh v Oman (6pm), India v South Korea (8pm).
Aug 27: Pakistan v Taiwan (6pm), Malaysia v Japan (8pm).