THE National Juniors started on an impressive note when they beat China 4-0 in Group A of the Junior Asia Cup in Kuantan Saturday.
However, their true strength will be known today when they square off against tournament favourites India.
India had beaten Malaysia 2-1 in the Sultan of Johor Cup.
"Im vey happy not only with the score line, but also the way my boys played today. They knew when to press and when to hold the match and this is one reason why we could beat China with such a margin," said Malaysian juniors coach Arul Selvaraj.
As for India: "I believe India is a matured side, as they don't play like Under-21 players and this will be our toughest game in Group A. We will be playing them for the second time in three weeks, and I believe our penalty corner battery will be ready to do more damage this time around," said Arul.
Malaysia started on a nervous note, and even gave away the first penalty corner in the fifth minute to China but the post saved the blushes.
And after failing to score off their first penalty corner, Malaysia took a 2-0 lead off their next two penalty corners.
Najmi Jazlan's drive in the 14th minute almost tore the netting, and Shahril Saabah's powerful flick in the 21st minute gave Malaysia some breathing space.
The forward line rarely took shots at goal, and with 10minutes to the half-time break, China were doing most of the attacking and only penalty corners separated both the sides at the half time hooter.
Malaysia came out looking for more from the match, and finally nailed a field goal off Haziq Samsul in th 42nd minute.
The goal not only assured Malaysia three points, but was also a moral boost for Haziq, who has played at the senior level, because he did not score a single goal in the Sultan of Johor Cup.
And with seconds remaining in the match, Najmi again scored off a penalty corner and Malaysia earned a well deserved win.
RESULTS: Group A: Malaysia 4 China 0, India 2 Japan 1.
Group B: Pakistan 3 Bangladesh 1, South Korea 5 Oman 2.
SUNDAY: Group A: China v Japan (6pm, Pitch I), Malaysia v India (8.15pm, Pitch I).
Group B: Pakistan v South Korea (4pm, Pitch I), Oman v Bangladesh (4.30pm, Pitch II).
Nov 16: REST DAY
P W D L F A Pts
MALAYSIA 1 1 0 0 4 0 3
INDIA 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
CHINA 1 0 0 1 0 4 0
JAPAN 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
P W D L F A Pts
S KOREA 1 1 0 0 5 2 3
PAKISTAN 1 1 0 0 3 1 3
OMAN 1 0 0 1 2 5 0
BANGLADESH 1 0 0 1 1 3 0