Arul hopes Speedy Tigers maintain momentum to beat Ireland

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KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey squad is determined to continue its fine run to overcome Ireland in the semi-finals of the 2022 Federation of International Hockey (FIH) Nations Cup in South Africa tomorrow.

Head coach A. Arulselvaraj (pix) said the Speedy Tigers had bounced back from a slim defeat against South Korea, to advance to the semi-finals by defeating Canada and Japan, after finding their rhythm.

He hoped the match against the 12th ranked team in the world, scheduled at 1.30 pm local time at NWU Astro Stadium, Potchesfsroom tomorrow, would give an advantage to his boys who are ranked 10th in the world.

“I think the strength of the Ireland team is in several players who played in the Dutch and Belgian Leagues. Ireland also appeared to be strong when it collected nine points from three matches (to emerge champions of Group A),

“Nonetheless, we have speed as our strength which we hope would trap them. Apart from that, the timing of the match at noon is to our advantage,” he said in a shared video.

According to the match history, Malaysia who emerged as champions of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for the first time last month scored five wins while Ireland were victorious in four meetings with two tied to a draw.

The Malaysian team began its Group B campaign with a 0-1 loss to 2022 Asian champions, South Korea before making a comeback to pip Canada 3-2 and thrash Japan 5-1 for a semi-final slot as group runners-up with six points behind South Korea who have nine points.

The other semi-final will see a clash between South Korea and hosts, South Africa.

The tournament champions would advance to the FIH Pro League which assembles the best teams in the world for the 2023-2024 season.-Bernama

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