PHNOM PENH (May 13): The men’s hockey squad confirmed their progress into the final in style after thrashing Thailand 5-0 in the third round-robin match at the 2023 SEA Games in the hockey pitch of Morodok Techo National Stadium here today.
In the encounter, Malaysia who won the first two matches, had to wait until the 12th minute to open the score after Shahmie Irfan Suhaimi found the net from a penalty corner.
Five minutes later, Muhammad Najib Abu Hassan’s field goal put Malaysia 2-0 up before the squad under Muhammad Amin Rahim recorded a comfortable lead through a field goal by Shahmie Irfan in the 20th minute.
On approaching the third quarter, Mohammad Haris Iskandar Osman made it 4-0 with a field goal in the 30th minute and Shahmie Irfan completed a hat trick and an emphatic victory for the national team with another field goal in the 49th minute.
The victory over Thailand saw Muhammad Amin’s men chalking up their third consecutive victory to lead the league by collecting nine points ahead of the last round-robin match against Indonesia tomorrow.
After three games, Indonesia, which also confirmed their place in the final, are now in second position with seven points, followed by third-place Thailand (three points), Singapore (one point) and Cambodia at the bottom without any points.
Based on the competition format, the top two teams after round-robin qualify for the final to decide on the gold medalist.
Speaking to Bernama after today’s match, Muhammad Amin said he was happy with the performance shown by his team, but hoped the players could maintain their consistency until the final.
“As you can see, we performed as predicted by winning all the matches and qualified for the final, I think in the first three matches, the team have done their job properly and there are two more matches before we can actually clinch the gold medal, so we need to focus on last two matches against Indonesia.
“For me the most important thing is consistency, if the team is consistent in every match by applying tactics I think we will play well in every match,” he said.
Malaysia are a hockey powerhouse at the SEA Games, holding the record of winning 16 gold medals since the 1971 edition in Kuala Lumpur. – Bernama