Monday, March 25, 2019
Malaysia survive to fight another day..
Pic: Oltmans with Fitri Saari after beating Japan 4-3.
P W D L F A Pts
MALAYSIA 2 2 0 0 9 4 6
S KOREA 2 1 1 0 7 4 4
INDIA 2 1 1 0 3 1 4
CANADA 2 1 0 1 7 6 3
JAPAN 2 0 0 2 3 6 0
POLAND 2 0 0 2 1 9 0
RESULTS: India 1 South Korea 1, Poland 0 Canada 4, Malaysia 4 Japan 3.
By Jugjet Singh
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian hockey team finally showed up in full force at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh to beat Asian Games champions Japan 4-3 Sunday.
The match almost followed the same script as the Asian Games, where Japan came back from 5-1 to draw level at 6-6 and then win the shoot-out 3-1.
But the players were more prepared this time, and denied Japan another famous victory.
Faizal Saari was again the toast as he opened scoring in the third minute, and added another in the 25th.
Kazuma Murata narrowed to 2-1 in the 17th, but Nik Aiman Rozemi scored the third in the seventh minute.
The match was far from over as Japan kept pushing for the equaliser, but Razie Rahim gave Malaysia some breathing space when he scored off the only penalty corner in the 53rd minute.
However, even before the crowd at the stadium could celebrate the 4-2 lead, Koji Yamasaki scored in the 54th minute.
Faizal took his personal tally to five as he scored a hat-trick in the 5-1 win against Poland.
In the Asian Champions Trophy last year, Malaysia won 3-0 in the pool, and then drew 2-2 but won 3-2 in shoot-out for bronze.
Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans said: "The good thing about this match is that the players are no longer nervous when they concede a goal, and they play their normal game.
"We knew Japan wold come hard at us and we managed to soak the pressure and that was another good point," said Oltmans.
Malaysia only won one penalty corner in 60 minutes: "Yes, but we also scored three field goals and that was complimented by the 100 percent penalty corner record."
Man of the match Fitri Saari said: "Now that we have gotten over two matches with full points, we are looking forward to a good tournament by taking one match at a time."