Muscat, October 19: Malaysia posted their second successive victory when they prevailed 3-1 over a fighting Oman in the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex here today.
After denying Asian Games silver medallists Malaysia in the first quarter, a defensive error enabled Malaysia to take the initial lead in the 22nd minute through Firhan Ashari.
An outstanding performance under the bar by Oman’s goalkeeper Fahad Al Noufali, who was adjudged Hero Player of the Match, defied Malaysia, while Oman equalized through a penalty stroke conversion by Rashad Al Fazari in the 34th minute. The stroke was awarded for a stick-check in the scoring zone and was confirmed after a referral sought by Malaysia.
Tengku Tajuddin made Oman pay for permitting him time and space on top of the circle in the 46th minute as he sent a firm reverse shot into the boards for Malaysia to regain the lead. Two minutes later, a through ball from Joel van Huizen was deflected into the left corner of the goal by Faizal Saari.
Oman’s goalkeeper made a few more good saves to deny Malaysia any more goals, while two opportunistic shots from Omani strikers went wide of the target at the other end. Malaysia’s coach Roelant Oltmans said it was not his team’s best performance, but was happy to have secured maximum three points.
“We were a bit sloppy today, but it is better now than in the semi-finals,” said Oltmans. “Our strikers were not as sharp as expected, but the Omani goalkeeper made some very good saves.”
Oman’s coach Tahir Zaman complimented his players for raising their game to a competitive level after a loss to India in the opening outing yesterday. “It was a morale booster for Oman’s hockey fraternity to see them play a very competitive match against Malaysia,” said Zaman.