MALAYSIA drew 2-2 with Japan to finish second in Group A, and will play South Korea in the quarter-finals of the Junior Asia Cup tomorrow.
Before Malaysia stepped onto the pitch yesterday, Bangladesh had upset South Korea 2-0 in Group B. So, the stats were that if Malaysia beat or hold Japan they will meet South Korea in the quarter-finals, and if they lose, they play Bangladesh.
The quarter-finals are what matters most in this tournament, as winners advance to the Junior World Cup in India next year.
"Even though we did not beat Japan, by boys still gave a good account of themselves and after a days rest, we will be ready for the most important match of the tournament which is the only chance to qualify for the Junior World Cup.
"We did not pick or choose our opponents, and I believe South Korea can be beaten to realise our dream of playing in India next year," said Malaysian coach Arul Selvaraj.
Malaysia took the match to Japan with zest, and off a concerted ettack an the 15th minute, Azwar Rahman scored a field attempt for his first goal of the tournament.
Japan were contended with defending, and gave Malaysia too much space to attack, but final touches eluded a higher scoreline in the early minutes.
After the half-time break, Japan started toying around with the ball while Malaysia kept missing sitters.
Japan drew level in the 49th minute, when Miyu Tanimitsu scored a penalty corner goal.
Malaysia replaced No 1 goalkeeper Ridzwan Azmi with Fazri Rahim in the 62nd minute, and it was to give match exposure to the other golakeeper.
And with four minutes left on the clock, Haziq Samsul gave Malaysia the lead, but Japan drew level at 2-2 with a penalty corner from YAMADA Shota Yamada in the 69th minute and Malaysia will play against South Korea in the quarters.
India will meet Oman in the quarters, and even though they have qualified for the World Cup as hosts, they are the early favourites to enter the last four.
RESULTS: Group A: India 4 China 1, Japan 2 Malaysia 2.
Group B: Oman 1 Pakistan 7, South Korea 0 Bangladesh 2.
Nov 18: REST DAY
Nov 19: Quarter-finals: India v Oman (3.45, Pitch II); Bangladesh v Japan (4pm, Pitch I); Malaysia v South Korea (6.15pm, Pitch I), Pakistan v China (8.30pm, Pitch I).
P W D L F A Pts
INDIA 3 3 0 0 11 6 9
MALAYSIA 3 1 1 1 10 7 4
JAPAN 3 1 1 1 5 5 4
CHINA 3 0 0 3 2 10 0
P W D L F A Pts
PAKISTAN 3 3 0 0 13 2 9
BANGLADESH 3 2 0 1 8 7 6
S KOREA 3 1 0 2 5 7 3
OMAN 3 0 0 3 7 17 0