Asian Games: Speedy Tigers thump Thailand in opener

HANGZHOU: A running change of players by hockey coach A. Arul Selvaraj did not disrupt his team's rhythm as Malaysia hammered Thailand 9-0 in their Group B opener at the Asian Games on Sunday.

Arul said he gave equal opportunities to all his players to perform, and they responded by giving their best.

"I can't ask for more from my players because this is their first game. After all, this kind of result is expected (when playing lower ranked teams).

"Apart from the two yellow cards, which I believe were not my players' fault, the result was satisfying, and I believe they enjoyed this match.

"Our focus was to build momentum for the next match," he said.

The nine goals were enough to give an idea of the Speedy Tigers' dominance at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Hockey Field.

Malaysia had scored three goals by the half-time break, but they went on a spree, after a 10-minute rest, to score another six.

The nine goals were delivered by Azrai Aizad Kamal (eighth, 34th), Firhan Ashaari (21st), Nik Aiman Rozemi (30th, 32nd), Aminuddin Zain (43rd, 45th), Abdul Khaliq Hamirin (57th) and Amirul Hamizan Azahar (60th).

Two-goal hero Azrai is delighted with Malaysia's roaring start to their campaign.

"It would be great if Malaysia reach the final and win the gold medal," who scored 40 goals for Tenaga Nasional Berhad in this year's Malaysian Hockey League.

After a day's rest, Malaysia will play Oman on Tuesday, and are expected to have another goals feast.

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