Argentina 2 Australia 0 Malaysia 3 Japan 3 KUALA LUMPUR: It was encore at the in the Darwin Interantional at the Marrara Hockey Stadium in Australia Wednesday, when Malaysia took a 3-1 lead but ended up sharing points with Japan at 3-3. It was a repeat performance from World No 12 Malaysia against No 16 Japan, who were down 2-5 in the Asian Games final in Jakarta, but equalised at 6-6 and then handed Malaysia a painful 3-1 defeat in the shoot-out to deny a historic Asian Games gold and an Olympic ticket which came with it. This performance came at the back of a 5-2 drubbing in the hands of Australia, and coach Amin Rahim's men will have a day's rest before playing World No 2 Argentina. However, this time around Malaysia had rested six regulars and injected with experienced reserves, while Japan also fielded six players who earned their first caps in darwin. Kazuma Murata handed Japan an 11th minute leas, but Malaysia raced ahead with goals from Razie Rahim (15th, 21st) and Fitri Shaari (27th). But Seran Tanaka (45th) and Shota Yamada (59th) fought back the equalsier. Japan had lost 2-1 to Argentina, and will play Australia next. "Yes, it's very disappointing as both the draws (Asian Games and now Darwin) were played out with the same script. The match changed when Razie (Rahim) received a yellow card late in the third quarter and carried forward in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. "Japan took this opportunity to penalise us," said Amin who is helming the national team for the first time. When asked about Japan's six rookies: "We also have six fringe players, but then again, those who had played in the Asian Games should have covered them but it did not happen," said Amin.
Sports Journalist with the New Straits Times since 1994.
My main beat is field hockey, so this blog will have stories that I have written for the NST, as well as hockey news from around the globe. There will be regular updates. I was also the Secretary General of the National Press Club, Malaysia for three terms (six years).