Thursday, November 19, 2015

Malaysia the better team...

MALAYSIA have a better record than South Korea in the ongoing Junior Asia Cup, and coach Arul Selvaraj and his men are not afraid or taken aback with their opponents in the quarter-finals in Kuantan today.
  After Bangladesh upset South Korea 3-0, Malaysia believe they are made of better stuff and their target of qualifying for the semi-finals and grabbing a ticket to the Junior World Cup in December 2016 is still in sight.
  The tournament offers four places, and with India claiming one as World Cup hosts, the other three semi-finalists are also assured of playing in New Delhi next year.
  India are sure bets to demolish Oman in the first quarter-finals of the day, Bangladesh play Japan in the second quarters and if the Bengali pull off another upset -- they will play in their maiden Junior World Cup.
  Pakistan look the better side against China, while Malaysia only need to polish on their accuracy and South Korea will become history.
  Korea team manager Yoo Moon-Ki believes his charges are better prepared after three matches.
  "We never played any matches before this tournament and so the Group B outings were good practice. We started with a 5-2 win against Oman, but hit a bad patch against Pakistan (3-0) and Bangladesh (2-0).
  "But my players are much more experienced and composed now, and I expect them to give Malaysia a tough time and eventually qualify for the World Cup," said Moon-Ki.
  Malaysian coach Arul Selvaraj and his boys are not afraid of the challenge today.
  "The fourth match is what matters most in this tournament and we are ready for any team. Past records at junior or even senior level invincibility does not come into account in this match.
  "We came with a single objective which is to qualify for the semi-finals and I know we will achieve it regardless our opponents," said Arul.
  Some believe South Korea are a better side than Malaysia and were not their true self in Group B, but lest we forget, Malaysia beat them in the last encounter -- 2-1 in the Junior World Cup quarter-finals and both the goals were scored by Shahril Saabah.
  Shahril is still with the Malaysian team, as he is 21 and eligible for the qualifier but not the next World Cup.
  Skipper Najib Abu Hassan rounded it up by saying: "This is the most important match of our lives as it will determine our future in hockey. So believe me, we will not blow up this chance of a life-time."  
  TODAY: Quarter-finals: India v Oman (3.45, Pitch II); Bangladesh v Japan (4pm, Pitch I); Malaysia v South Korea (6.15pm, Pitch I), Pakistan v China (8.30pm, Pitch I).