It was a do-or-die mission for both Malaysia and Pakistan, but at the end of the day both survived to fight for another day with their 1-1 draw in their second match in the 29th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2022 International Men’s hockey tournament at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, Ipoh, last night.
A loss for both Malaysia and Pakistan coming into the matches with losses from their opening match against Korea (0-3) and South Africa(1-4) respectively, would have virtually ended their hopes of a top two finish for the final.
The match as expected started with both teams taking the field with utmost urgency and the game swung from end to end.
For Malaysia, a heart-to-heart talk by coach A. Arul Selvaraj after their opening game loss and his believe on the team’s GPS track record on the players and performances in matches, which indicated that the players will be stronger in the second match, saw everything fall in place tonight.
Indeed, Malaysia looked a different side from their opening match against Korea where they chased every ball, closed down their opponents early, set up fast pace and matched the the aggression of the Pakistan players not to be intimated.
And Malaysia were rewarded for their rejuvenated performance when Sabahan Shello Silverius put Malaysia in the lead in 27th minute after a brilliant display of individual stick work to beat Pakistan experienced captain, Umar Bhutta and take on two more defenders before beating goalkepeer Abdullah Ishtiaq Khan.