Supporters of Malaysia went home beaming with joy as the home team defeated Japan 4-3 in its second match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2016 hockey tournament on Thursday, April 7.
Captain Razie Rahim scored the opening goal via a penalty corner two minutes into play but was equalised by Japan’s captain, Hiroki Sakamoto less than a minute later through a penalty corner.
As half-time approached, Malaysia was leading 3-1 thanks to Rahim’s second goal at the eleventh minute followed by Haziq Samsul at fourteenth. As the Malaysia team got comfortable after the fourth goal by Fitri Saari, Shota Yamada shocked the Malaysians with two goals both through penalty corners at 54th and 60th minutes.
The dominating Tigers had to work hard in the dying minutes to keep the Nihon at bay.
Malaysia coach’s Stephen Van Huizen was proud of his boys’ success but admitted more need to be done when Malaysia takes on top seed Australia in its next match.
“The players did a good job during the first two quarters, as we were leading 3-1. But slowed down towards the end of the game, especially during the last five minutes. There are a few holes that need to be patched before our next match against the Aussies,” said Stephen.
Rahim Razie’s diligence earned his team full points and was named the ‘Man of the Match’.
The tournament takes a break today, Friday, April 8 and will resume on Saturday, April 9.
Results of other Thursday matches are: Canada drew 1-1 with New Zealand. Australia trounced India 5-1. India’s coach Roelent Oltmans had this to say: “We’d a lot of chances but the players didn’t utilise them. I am disappointed with today’s game. More need to be done in order for us to win.”
The fixtures on Saturday, April 9 are: Japan vs Canada at 4:05pm, New Zealand vs Pakistan at 6:05pm and the final game, Malaysia vs Australia at 8:35pm.