IPOH – The Malaysian hockey squad stunned 2016 Olympic champions Argentina with a 2-1 win in the third match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Championship at Azlan Shah Stadium tonight.
Before a capacity crowd of about 5,000 spectators, Stephen Van Huizen’s squad turned up a notch as striker Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil cleverly took the opportunity to slot in the opening goal after a melee in front of the visitors’ goal in the 20th minute.
The goal enlivened the stadium and encouraged the Malaysian players to spring a surprise victory over the Argentinians.
The chance came eight minutes later, when defender Muhammad Najmi Farizal Jazlan rammed in a second goal off a pass from midfielder Muhammad Marhan Mohd Jalil, beating Argentinian goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi.
The ‘Los Leons’ were awarded a penalty stroke in the 30th minute, but national goalkeeper Muhammad Hafizuddin Othman tipped away Juan Gilardi’s strike.
In the second half, Diego Paz punished the Malaysian Tigers defence, scoring a simple goal in the 32nd minute.
Taken aback by the visitors’ opening goal, the national team tried to extend their lead, but Argentina defended well.
Roland Rivero’s side also attempted to find the equaliser, but they were denied till the end.
Meanwhile, Van Huizen when met after the match said he was happy with the victory, but warned that the team should not get too comfortable, as the next match was against India tomorrow night.
“We will take every game as a learning experience for us and pick up the good points.
“It is a hard game and I think we got lucky. There were a few misses on the other side, and the runners did a good job. We are very happy to get the three points, and it gave us a morale booster,” he said.
For Rivero, Argentina’s defeat to Malaysia was a lesson for his squad to be more careful for their next game tomorrow against England.