Malaysia scored an emphatic 5-1 win over Japan in their final Group B tie this evening to make the cut to the semifinals of the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup 2022.
With the win today, Malaysia will now take on Ireland in the crossover semifinals on Saturday (3 Dec 22 / 7:30 PM – Malaysia Time).
“It is a big win which we should be proud of as it showed the maturity of the players to control the game right from the onset,” said Malaysia Head Coach A. Arulselvaraj.
“We defended well against them, especially in the Penalty Corners where the players thwarted all eight of the chances they had. It is the culmination of the work that we have done during practice.”
All pumped up against Japan, the Malaysian lads did not wait too long to prise open the lead when Muhammad Najib Abu Hassan capitalised on a defensive lapse on the part of a Japanese defender to guide the ball into goal.
But the lead would last for just three minutes before Kosei Kawabe found the space and time to flick in the Field Goal.
With the first Penalty Corner in the 21st minute unable to change the score line, the second PC just two minutes later saw Muhammad Aminuddin Mohd Zain smashing the ball into the right corner of Japan’s goal to restore Malaysia’s advantage.
Several Penalty Corners later both Malaysia and Japan failed to find the back of the net as the score stood at 2-1 to Malaysia at the half.
Just four minutes into the third quarter and Malaysia extended their advantage to 3-1 when Faizal Saari weaved past two Japanese defenders for the fine finish.
In the 39th minute, Malaysia widened the gap to 4-1 with Najib Hassan latching on to a pass from Tengku Nasrul Ikmal Hakimie Tengku Abd Rahim following the hard work from the flanks.
Mohamad Ashran Hamsani then gave Malaysia their fifth goal of the game in the 40th minute when he pounced on a loose ball to score following a poor clearance from the Japanese backline.
Japan then pushed harder into the fourth quarter as they attempt to get back into the game but Muhammad Hafizuddin Othman was just in his element to deny the several chances they had.