Malaysia remains unbeaten in Asian Champions Trophy

Manpreet Singh (AFP pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia maintained their unbeaten record in the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament after a scoreless draw against reigning Asian champions, India, in their fourth preliminary match at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman on Tuesday.

The result did not affect the table standings with India remaining at the top spot ahead of Malaysia with a better goal difference.

Both teams who have already qualified for the semi-finals, shared 10 points with three wins and a draw.

India took control right from the start with continuous attacks at the national side and they almost took the lead in the ninth minute when the umpire awarded a penalty corner, but national goalkeeper, Muhammad Hairi Abd Rahman parried a straight flick from an Indian player.

Mandeep Singh almost broke the deadlock in the dying minutes of the first half but his shot went over the bar despite a clear shot at goal.

After the break, both teams exchanged attacks but failed to find the back of the net until the end of the match.

National men’s squad head coach, Roelant Oltmans was happy with the result but admitted that his charges lacked possession in the match.

“I’m proud of the team’s effort especially in defence as the players were disciplined and worked hard, and effectively cut out India from scoring goals in the match.

“The first thing is to recover from two back-to-back matches and once we have recovered, I would like to see a better possession in the next match,” the 64-year-old Dutchman added.

The national side has so far chalked up an impressive performance by beating Japan 3-0, Oman 3-1 and South Korea 4-2.

Malaysia will wrap up their preliminary fixtures against Pakistan on Thursday.