Speedy Tigers eye bronze

IPOH: The team rebuilding work continues for Malaysia as they play South Korea in Ipoh today for a bronze-medal playoff after failing to defend their Sultan Azlan Shah (SAS) Cup hockey crown.

The Speedy Tigers' hopes of retaining the SAS Cup were dashed after being edged 2-1 by Japan in their penultimate pool match at the Azlan Shah Stadium on Wednesday.

Sarjit Singh's men are placed third in the standings with six points after four matches, behind Pakistan (10) and Japan (10), while New Zealand are fourth (six) followed by Korea (three) and Canada with no points.

South Korea coach Tae Seok Min said they will have to exploit the empty spaces in Malaysia and shut out their lethal attacks.

Sarjit said: "We will just play our normal game. Every coach has his own opinion. The boys did well in the last four matches, especially against Japan, and fought till the very end. They will continue to do so against Korea.

"After a few years, I'm back as the national team coach and these results are part of the learning process."

World No. 13 Malaysia started their campaign with a 5-4 loss to No. 16 Pakistan but bounced back with wins over No. 10 New Zealand (6-4) and No. 19 Canada (6-2) before the defeat to Japan.

On the defeat by Japan, Sarjit said his men could not convert their chances and paid the price for it.

The match saw Japan taking the lead through Kazumasa Matsumoto (24th minute) but Faisal Saari drew level (31st) before Ryoma Ooka's winner (50th).

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