VAN HUIZEN RE­MAINS OP­TI­MISTIC

Coach wants Malaysia to re­bound against Bri­tain

New Straits Times - - Sport - JUGJET SINGH jug jet@nst.com.my

THOUGH Malaysia were held to an “un­nec­es­sary” 1-1 draw by Ja­pan, and then mauled 6-1 by Aus­tralia, na­tional coach Stephen van Huizen is still op­ti­mistic of his team’s per­for­mance in the 26th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.

The fact that Malaysia scored an equaliser off Haziq Sham­sul (but the goal was dis­al­lowed by the um­pires who deemed it as dan­ger­ous play) and could have changed the game on Sun­day was van Huizen’s rea­son­ing.

“We knew play­ing against the World No 2 would not be easy, and the dis­al­lowed goal some­how de­mor­alised the team and broke their rhythm.

“But it’s not the end of the tour­na­ment for my play­ers,” said van Huizen.

He be­lieves that his men will bounce back against Bri­tain to­day.

“Aus­tralia scored two goals when two of our play­ers were on the bench af­ter pick­ing up cards.

“Over­all, I’m happy with the com­mit­ment shown by my charges who never stop play­ing un­til the fi­nal whis­tle.”

Van Huizen said he will rally his men, and raise their op­ti­mism, as the re­main­ing matches are against higher ranked teams.

“We will keep on try­ing, as we do not want to end up in the bot­tom.

“And if the fi­nal slips out of our hands, we will try and fin­ish in the third-fourth bracket.”

Last year, Malaysia ended up fourth.

Af­ter Bri­tain, Malaysia will play New Zealand to­mor­row and In­dia on Fri­day.

Bri­tain last fea­tured in the Azlan Shah Cup in 2012 af­ter mak­ing their de­but a year ear­lier where they won the bronze medal.

Af­ter two matches, Aus­tralia, In­dia and Bri­tain shared four points each fol­low­ing one draw and one win to stay at the top of the stand­ings whilst Ja­pan, New Zealand and Malaysia have one point from two matches.

TO­DAY: In­dia v Aus­tralia (4pm), New Zealand v Ja­pan (6pm), Malaysia v Bri­tain (8.30pm).

TO­MOR­ROW: Ja­pan v In­dia (4pm), Bri­tain v Aus­tralia (6pm), Malaysia v New Zealand (8.30pm).

PIC BY MUHAIZAN YAHYA

Malaysia’s Firhan Ashaari (sec­ond from right) at­tempts to go past three Aus­tralia play­ers dur­ing their Azlan Shah Cup match on Sun­day. Aus­tralia won 6-1.

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