KUALA LUMPUR: Defensive errors cost Malaysia dear as they slumped 1-2 to Japan in the opening Group A match of the Junior Asia Cup women’s hockey tournament at the Seremban II Hockey Stadium yesterday.
The match which was supposed to start at 4pm was delayed by two hours because of a heavy down pour.
Malaysian defenders were at sea in the first seven minutes and Japan took advantage to score two quick goals which was enough to give them a winning start.
Takagi Mai scored a field goal in the third minute and four minutes later Japan increased their lead off a penalty corner goal by Kozakura Thinami.
Malaysia created several scoring chances but all came to nought until two minutes from time when defender Nurul Nadia Mokhtar finally sounded the board from the team’s third penalty corner of the match.
However, it was too late for Malaysia to look for the equaliser.
National coach Yahya Atan said that they were let down by silly defensive errors in the first few minutes.
“My girls gave a good fight and created several scoring chances but only managed to score one penalty corner goal.
“The players will have to play much harder if they hope to get the desire results,’’ said Yahya.
With the defeat, Malaysia’s hopes of finishing among the top-four in the nine-team competition is virtually over.
Malaysia will face an uphill task when they take on defending champions China tomorrow.
Malaysia’s last two matches are against Pakistan on Wednesday and Thailand on Thursday.
The Group B match between Singapore and India, scheduled for 6pm yesterday, was postponed to this morning because of rain.
Group A: Malaysia 1 Japan 2, Pakistan 2 Thailand 1.
Today’s matches: Singapore vs India (9am), S. Korea vs Taiwan (4pm), Thailand vs China (6pm), Pakistan vs Japan (8pm).