SINGAPORE – National hockey coach Tai Beng Hai wants the players to be aware of the threat Japan can pose to their title hopes when both teams meet in the semifinals of the World Hockey League (WHL) Round Two on Saturday.
Beng Hai said Malaysia will face a totally different kind of challenge when facing Japan compared with their quarterfinal opponent Mexico.
Malaysia beat Mexico 10-1, earlier today and set up a clash against Japan who whipped Ukraine 5-0 in another quarterfinal encounter.
“The semifinal will be a different ball game and we need to be prepared right from the start. We must go for the early kill. If we do not manage to score early, we must then make sure we do not concede any goals,” he told reporters after the match against Mexico, here today.
Beng Hai said Japan were a very organised team in terms of physical and mental preparedness.
Meanwhile, speaking of today’s match against Mexico, Beng Hai said the players kept their focus although one of the players, Muhammad Firhan suffered an unfortunate injury after clashing with Mexico goalkeeper Moises Vargas in the 40th minute.
Beng Hai said Firhan who suffered a cut in his lips may required stitches and his condition would be determined by the doctor.
“Whether he can play against Japan or not will depend on the doctor’s report,” he said.
Japan 5 Ukraine 0
Scorers: Shunya Miyazaki (12th), Kazuma Murata (14th), Kenta Tanaka (19th), Ippei Fujimoto (28th), Koji Kayukawa (34th). – BERNAMA