PHNOM PENH: Malaysia defeated Indonesia 4-2 to top the standings after their last round-robin fixture in the 2023 SEA Games men’s hockey competition here today.
Malaysia took to the pitch having already confirmed their final spot earlier but faced a torrid time against Indonesia.
It took two quick field goals by Shahmie Irfan Suhaimi and Najib Abu Hassan in the 28th minute to undo all the hard defensive work Indonesia had put in.
The goals settled the Malaysian players’ nerves and they began to play more confidently, resulting in Harris Iskandar Osman making it 3-0 with a field goal before Amirul Hamizan Azahar added to the scoresheet with a penalty stroke in the 43rd minute.
However, the Malaysians took their foot off the pedal and allowed Indonesia’s Derangga Raditya to score a brace through a penalty corner set piece in the 44th minute and a field goal a minute later.
The victory, Malaysia’s fourth straight win, puts them atop the standings with 12 points. The team will meet Singapore in the title showdown on Tuesday.
“Overall, our performance was not very encouraging,” said head coach Amin Rahim.
“We made too many mistakes and allowed our opponents to nick two goals. But, our players deserve praise for winning it to stay unbeaten.
“We will use the rest day tomorrow well and analyse how we can improve further. Whoever we face in the final, we will go all out to ensure we return home with the gold medal.”
Singapore pipped Indonesia to the final on goal difference despite both teams having seven points each, after having geared up for the final by trouncing Thailand 6-1 in the other match here today.