KUALA LUMPUR: A winning start. Loads of goals scored. And just one conceded.

Yet, national hockey coach Stephen van Huizen was far from pleased.

Malaysia got their men’s Asia Cup hockey tournament off to a sizzler – trouncing China 7-1 in their opening Group B match in Dhaka, Bangladesh, yesterday.

Twenty-six-year-old forward Faizal Saari (pic) stole the show with a hattrick – in the 17th, 31st and 41st minutes – at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium.

Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil netted a brace in the 12th and 19th minutes while Muhd Shahril Saabah (35th) and Muhd Ramadan Rosli (60th) scored one apiece.

E Wenhui replied for China in the 56th minute.

The only “weakness” world No. 12 Malaysia’s showed was their poor penalty corner conversion rate – scoring just one from six attempts.

And that’s exactly what irked Stephen.

“It was a good start. We thought that China would go all out against us as the Asia Cup is their last chance to qualify for next year’s World Cup Finals (in Bhubaneswar, India).

“But my boys’ played true to their form and we did well to score six field goals.

“I am not too pleased with our penalty corner conversion rate though. We have to work on our penalty corner variations for the coming matches,” said Stephen in a telephone interview.

Malaysia went to Dhaka without three experienced players – defender Mohd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin and midfielder Meor Mohd Azuan Hasan and forward Muhd Firhan Ashaari – due to injuries.

But that did not stop Malaysia from playing a fast attacking game against China and capitalising on their chances.

Malaysia will have a day’s rest before they take on defending champions South Korea tomorrow.

The Koreans, who have yet to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, also started their campaign well by defeating Oman 7-2.



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