INCHEON – Malaysia will have to beat Japan on Saturday to book a place in the semifinals of the Incheon Asian Games after losing 1-2 to South Korea in a Group A match at the Seonhak Hockey Stadium, here today.
Malaysia who beat Singapore and Bangladesh have six points, the same as Japan who also have six points from two wins over the same teams.
If Malaysia end up with a draw against Japan, goal difference may come into play and based on the results, Japan will have an advantage, especially after beating Singapore 13-0 today while Malaysia beat Singapore 8-2.
In today’s match, Malaysia were trailing 2-0 through goals from Nam Hyun-woo in the 23rd minute and 43rd minutes from penalty corner strikes.
Stunned by the two goals, coach Arul Selvaraj’s boys fought back gamely to reduce the deficit through Muhammad Marhan Mohd Jalil’s field goal in the 59th minute but the Koreans held on to walk out winners.
The win, South Korea’s third in as many matches, saw them top Group A and ensure a place in the semifinals.
Despite the loss, Arul Selvaraj was satisfied with the work rate of his boys who put up a spirited display, especially in the closing minutes of the match.
“Every player showed a high level of commitment and urgency, especially in the second half,” he told reporters after the match.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s two-goal hero Naw Hyu-nwoo said Malaysia showed strong character in the match, despite the loss.
“We have been training hard for the match and happy that that our focus on set pieces had paid off,” he said.
South Korea play their last Group A match against Bangladesh. – Bernama