FIRHAN (third from left) being mobbed my Malaysian players after he scored the winner against Japan.
RESULTS: Fifth-Sixth: South Korea 2 China 1; Third- Fourth: Malaysia 1 Japan 0; Final: India 0 Pakistan 0 (India win 4-2 on penaltyshootout).
EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD Firhan Ashaari delivered seven seconds from time to hand Malaysia a bronze medal in the Inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Orods, Inner Mon golia, yesterday.
Malaysia, who beat Japan 3-2 on Friday in the pool match, were held at bay until the final minute when young Firhan surged forward to nail the bronze on a nerve wrecking 1-0 win as the Japanese dug in preparing for extra-time play.
The lad made his national debut in this year’s Azlan Shah Cup, where he earned his first six caps and has proven to be a great catch.
Terengganu-born forward Firhan, who turned 18 on March 9 scored Malaysia’s second medal at the Asian level, after the Asian Games silver.
“I would say the match was won on determination, as the players badly wanted to win a medal in the inaugural tournament,” said Malaysian team manager Stephen van Huizen.
The first half was cautious as both teams did not want to make early mistakes, but in the second Malaysia pressed hard but still could not break the duck.
“At the back, even though Baljit Singh was carrying an injury, he was the man of our defense and this frustrated the Japanese.
“The clock showed 40 seconds when we won a free-hit at the Japanese 25-yard, and instead of making a direct attempt, a back pass was made to Amin Rahim, who in turn passed to Razie Rahim.
“Razie slammed the ball into the Japanese semi-circle and the ball was picked up by Firhan, who in turn took a reverse stick grounder which went crashing into the board with seven seconds remaining,” van Huizen described the match winner.