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KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 -- The national men’s hockey team started the tri-nation friendly series on the wrong footing after going down 3-0 to Japan tonight.
It was also head coach A. Arul Selvaraj’s first competitive match since taking over from Roelant Oltmans after the veteran Dutchman decided to part ways with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) last August.
In the match, held under the sports bubble concept at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, the reigning Asian Games champions opened the scoring through Hirotaka Zendana’s penalty corner in the 19th minute.
The visitors, who are playing their first competitive match after 18 months, then netted two field goals in the second half through Kota Watanabe (50th) and Ryosei Kato (55th).
The Speedy Tigers, as the Malaysian national hockey team are known, will face Great Britain on Monday (April 19) before meeting Japan again on Tuesday (April 20) and the Great Britain on Thursday (April 22) at the same venue in the friendly series against the Olympic Games-bound teams.