Sunday, March 24, 2019

Azlan Shah Cup: Malaysia died in Jakarta -- Aikman

Pic: Siegfried Aikman.

KUALA LUMPUR: Japan coach Siegfried Aikman said Malaysia died they day they lost  the gold medal in the Jakarta Asian Games, and the team needs all the support it can to rise again.
  The Dutch said this after India beat Japan 2-0 in the curtain raiser of the 28th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
  Japan next meet Malaysia today (Sunday).
  "I hope the fans turn up in full force to support their team as Malaysia need all the help they can to rise from the bottom again.
  "They (hockey) died the day we beat them to the Asian Games gold medal in Jakarta, and by saying this, I mean their mental strength died that faithful day.
  "Malaysia reached rock-bottom in their hockey in Jakarta, and this is the best chance for them to rise again," said Aikman.
  Japan played a solid defensive game against world No 5 India, who only got two shots at goal and scored both. India also could only win two penalty corners.
  "We lost 8-0, 9-0 and 3-2 to India in our last three encounters, so today's 2-0 was an improvement, and if we meet India again, we will beat them," said Aikman.
  The only difference in the match was Varun Kumar's 24th minute penalty corner, and Simranjeet Singh's diving deflection into goal in the 55th minute.
  "India are much better than Malaysia, and so I expect a better match from my players tomorrow (today). And I want the fans to show up in force, as my players would also benefit playing in an electric atmosphere," said Aikman.
  India coach David John did not attend the press conference and sent his skipper Manpreet Singh instead.
  "Japan gave us very little chances, and we took the few that came out way and won the match. I believe by the time they host the Olympics (2020), Japan would be ready to put up a good fight," said Manpreet.