Arul smiling for a different reason in Hangzhou

HANGZHOU: Coach A. Arul Selvaraj was smiling from ear-to-ear, and it was not so much because of the whooping 11-1 scoreline against Oman in an Asiad hockey match today.

More importantly, he was pleased that the Malaysian team are injury-free for the tougher matches later in their gold quest.

Arul said even though his men whipped Thailand (9-0) and Oman, there is still a long way to go.

"The important factor in our early matches is not the scoreline, but the condition of my players after 60 minutes. We can't afford to pick up injuries as the tournament is still at its early stage.

"So, I was relieved that there are no injuries after the Oman and Thailand matches. All my players are in a happy mood and enjoying their Asian Games moments."

Scoring for Malaysia were Razie Rahim (third, 11th), Ashran Hamsani (14th), Shello Silverius (18th), Faizal Saari (26th), Azrai Aizad Kamal (29th), Ashran Hamsani (30th), Najmi Farizal Jazlan (34th), Ashran Hamsani (35th), Azrai Aizad Abu Kamal (36th) and Faizal Saari (39th). Oman's consolation goal was by Fahad Lawati in the 23rd.

Arul said even though Malaysia had chalked up big wins, the Speedy Tigers can't be complacent as it was against lower ranked teams.

"I believe there is still room to improve technically in the remaining matches.

"As I said before, our first three games will give us the best opportunity to get into rhythm for the tougher matches (against South Korea and China)."

Malaysia will play Indonesia on Thursday, and three points as well as plenty of action at the opponents' goalmouth, are expected.

In a Group A match, world No. 3 India pulverised Singapore 16-1, at the back of a 16-0 win over Uzbekistan.

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