(File pix) Razie Rahim

KUALA LUMPUR: The excellent performances of Razie Rahim throughout the first three matches of the 2018 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup has earned him praise from national hockey legend, Datuk Mirnawan Nawawi, who sees the national team captain as a prized asset for the Malaysian Tigers.

Mirnawan heaped praise on Razie, 31, as his performances and leadership helped Malaysia to pull off a stunning upset in defeating World No 2 team Argentina 2-1 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Stadium in Ipoh yesterday.

Even though he could not repeat the goal scoring heroics of the hat-trick scored when Malaysia beat Ireland 4-1 in the first match, the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) star is obviously the ‘marshal’ for the national team.

Mirnawan said: "At present Razie is doing a splendid job in marshalling the national squad’s defense together with Faiz Helmi Jali.

"In fact, from what I see, he is not only excellent in defense but he makes penetrating surging runs up the field as well which greatly helps the team’s forwardline as he becomes the ‘extra man’ during attacking moves.”

In the third group match yesterday, Malaysia shocked Argentina 2-1, thanks to early goals from Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Abdul Jalil and Najmi Farizal Jazlan, with Argentina’s solitary goal scored by Diego Paz.

Each and every player in the national team deserves praise for yesterday’s win over the much fancied Argentinians, with Razie being the standout player, what more with his precise, long lobs forward which caught the opposition’s defense off guard.

"Razie’s ability to move the ball forward from behind is one of the national team’s strengths and I hope the team make full use of it to their benefit and advantage.”

Tonight (Wednesday, 8.30pm), Malaysia, ranked World No 12 take to the field to play against Asian giants India in the fourth match, with their final round robin match against England to be played this Friday.

A win over India will most definitely boost the national squad’s chances of advancing to the final as they are currently tied with Argentina in second place with six points.

Meanwhile Australia maintained their 100 per cent record in the tournament as they lead the standings with nine points.

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