MALAYSIA beat Japan 3-2 in the fourth friendly at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
The series is now tied 2-2, as Japan won the first two friendlies with identical 2-1 scores while Malaysia won the third 4-1.
Today Malaysia will play their final friendly and need a win to seal it.
"We are slowly getting there but need to tie up some lose ends to make the team stronger. Today (yesterday) the midfield made some mistakes which allowed the Japanese to score two easy goals.
"However, the series is still tied 2-2 and we need to play much better in the last match tomorrow (today)," said national coach Tai Beng Hai.
Lanky Izwan Firdaus gave Malaysia a solid start, when he sidestepped a defender and slammed in the first goal in the 13th minute.
And Malaysia took control of the match but failed to increase the lead until they won a penalty corner in the 23rd minute.
Radzi Rahim's attempt was saved by the goalkeeper but the ball came back to him, and this time, Radzi slammed in a grounder for a 2-0 lead.
However, instead of silencing the Japanese, Malaysia collapsed by letting in two soft field goals which were scored by Hiroki Sakamato in the 26th and 28th minutes to share the spoils into tthe breather.
Malaysia played much better in the second half, and had plenty of chances to score but muffed sitters and the score remained tied.
However, in the 68th minute a pass from Faizal Saari found his brother Fitri who scored the winner to the relief of the Malaysian camp.