KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian men's hockey team finally won a match after five tries against Olympic champions Argentina in Buenos Aires yesterday.
Coach Stephen van Huizen and his men lost the first four matches 1-0, 6-1, 7-2, 2-1 and then drew the Fifth Test 1-1, before winning the Sixth Test 2-1.
This is the second win against Argentina this year, as Malaysia beat them 2-1 in the pool stage of the Azlan Shah Cup, but then lost 3-2 in the Third-Fourth placing match.
Malaysia travelled to Argentina to look for a strong sparring partner in their bid to win gold at the Jakarta Asian Games and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but the Argies fielded 10 new players and only eight Olympians in the Six-Test series.
Shahril Saabah (18th) and Haziq Samsul (22nd) scored for Malaysia while Olympian Pedro Ibarra scored in the 41st minute.
Van Huizen said this was their best game on the Tour.
"Best game on the Tour as it was hard work all the way. Shahril scored when Razie (Rahim's) overhead flick was not collected cleanly by Gilardi (Juan).
"He ran and hit a high reverse to beat Vilvardi (Juan) in goal. They kept coming at us but we fought hard to keep them out and counter attack when we won possession.
"In another breakaway before half time Haziq scored when the ball rebounded off the goal post.
"They threw everything at us but we defended well to earn a deserved win. Proud of the players and the turnaround in the last two games (draw and then win)."
Van Huzien believes his charges phusical condition is much better after the Commonwealth Games.
"The tempo of the games here were very high. All the hard work the last three weeks has helped the players to play till the end of every match."
Malaysia must beat South Korea, Pakistan, India, Japan and China in the Asian Games if they want to win gold and qualify for the Olympics -- which we last played in 2000 Sydney.
The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) have yet to release the Asian Games grouping, but Malaysia will meet all the teams above either at the group or knock-out stage in Jakarta.