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Tuesday August 27, 2013 MYT 10:27:00 PM
Tuesday August 27, 2013 MYT 10:34:24 PM
Malaysia's Azlan Misron (second from right) celebrates with teammates after scoring the fourth goal for Malaysia in their Asia Cup match against Japan. Malaysia won 4-2.
IPOH: The Malaysian defence was again a letdown in the Asia Cup – conceding two goals in the first eight minutes of their Group A match against Japan at the Azlan Shah Stadium.
Fortunately, coach Paul Revington’s men hit back to beat Japan 3-2 and seal their place in the semi-finals.
Malaysia, who finish second behind Pakistan in the group with two wins and a loss, are likely to face India in Friday’s semi-finals.
Pakistan topped Group A after hammering Taiwan 13-0 for their third straight win.
Malaysia went into the game against Japan needing just a draw to qualify for the last four. Instead, they were stunned by the world No. 16.
Japan took the lead in the fifth minute after Malaysian defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim gave away a penalty corner following a 5-metre infringement near the D.
Toshiro Tachibana’s low flick deflected off a Malaysian player’s stick and sailed to the top of the net.
Three minutes later, Japan launched a counter attack which saw Kei Kawakami collecting a pass from Katsuyoshi Nagasawa in the semi-circle before blasting it past goalkeeper S. Kumar.
But Malaysia slowly but surely got back into their stride.
Razie, who gave away the first penalty corner, reduced the deficit in the 13th minute when he converted Malaysia’s first penalty corner.
The tide swung in Malaysia’s favour as they earned three penalty corners but to no avail.
It wasn’t until the 27th minute that Malaysia managed to draw level through forward Mohd Firhan Ashaari, who collected a loose ball in the D before scoring with a reverse stick attempt that gave goalkeeper Akira Morishima no chance.
Malaysia finally took the lead off their seventh penalty corner through forward Faizal Saari in the 60th minute.
And six minutes later Azlan Misron made it 4-2 with a well-taken goal.
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah praised the players for their fighting spirit.
“But they cannot afford to play like this in the semi-finals ... giving away easy goals. They must play much better if they want to win the Asia Cup for the first time,” he said.
Coach Revington also hailed his men for their never-say-die attitude.
“The players were calm despite trailing by two goals ... it happens. But they played to instruction and came back to score four goals,” said Revington.
In the other Group A match, Abdel Haseem Khan was the toast for Pakistan, netting a hattrick in the 54th, 56th and 69th against Taiwan.
Skipper Muhammad Imran (23rd, 53rd), Muhammad Rizwan (26th, 38th) and Shafqat Rasool (39th, 47th) scored a brace each while the other goals were netted by Shakeel Abbasi (13th), Muhammad Dilber (45th), Muhammad Tousiq (60th) and Muhammad Irfan (67th).
Three-time champions Pakistan are likely to face Group B runners-up defending champions South Korea in the semi-finals.
Tags / Keywords:
hockey, Asia Cup, Malaysia, Japan, Pakistan, Taiwan, Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim, Azlan Misron
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