Ireland 1-4 Malaysia
Ireland fell to a 4-1 defeat in their opening game of the Azlan Shah Cup against host nation Malaysia in awful conditions.
Tip-off was delayed by 30 minutes due to torrential rain, accompanied by 30-degree heat and humidity, and the Green Machine came undone against clinical opponents.
Ireland picked up their first penalty corner of the game inside the opening 15 seconds but Shane O’Donoghue’s shot was quickly run down and blocked by Marham Jalil.
Razie Rahim’s first goal of the day was a sight to behold as the captain poached the ball to set up a two-on-two and send a reverse shot into the backboard as Jamie Carr came charging at him.
Five minutes later Malaysia doubled their lead courtesy of Tengku Tajuddin.
Aiman Nik Rozemi skipped into the crowded circle along the baseline and pulled the pass back for Tajuddin to bundle the ball in at the back post.
Eugene Magee showcase superb 3D skills to get past four defenders and into the circle but was crowded out and eventually dispossessed.
Carr was in fine form all day and made a phenomenal high save with his stick, followed by 2 further saves in quick succession. But Rahim made it 3-0 with a powerful PC drag to give Malaysia a comfortable lead going into half time.
Ireland continued to dominate the possession stats as they retained the 66% figure from the first half but the Malaysian defence were proving resolute and limited the Green Machine’s shots to seven throughout the match.
Malaysia racked up three PCs in a matter of minutes and Rahim got his hat trick at the third time of asking to make it 4-0.
But Ireland built more sustained pressure and Kirk Shimmins, drafted into the squad to replace Peter Caruth who couldn’t travel on medical grounds, got them on the scoreboard.
He was most alert to pick up a loose ball at pace and volleyed home from the top of the circle, leaving Hafizuddin Othman no chance in the goal. Chris Cargo won two PCs for Ireland in the dying minutes but Magee’s shot skimmed just wide and O’Donoghue’s subsequent effort was saved.
Ireland are next in action tomorrow at 10am (Irish time) against Argentina.
Ireland: J Carr, J Bell (Captain), M Bell, C Cargo, A Sothern, E Magee, S O’Donoghue, M Robson, P Gleghorne, S Loughrey, S Cole
Subs: S O’Connor, K Shimmins, S Murray, J McKee, J Dale, L Cole, M Ingram
March 4 v Argentina
March 6 v England
March 7 v Australia
March 9 v India
March 10 final placing matches