SINGAPORE: Malaysia defeated Japan 3-2 through penalty flicks after being tied 1-1 in the semi-final of the 2015 World Hockey League Second Round at Sengkang Hockey Stadium, here yesterday.
National coach, Tai Beng Hai said the narrow win was a test for the squad after meeting weaker opponents in group A matches earlier.
“I think this was a test that we have been preparing for…and in a way it was a good experience to play the weaker opponents before the semifinal. We will try to step up the pressure after this game.
“We managed to get the early goal but we did not kill off the game. I think today we were unlucky. We hit the post four times,” he told reporters after the match.
Malaysia’s solitary goal was scored by Muhammad Marhan Mohd Jalil in the 5th minute while Japan netted through Kenta Tanaka in the 15th minute.
Malaysia’s three penalty goals were scored by Faizal Saari, Muhammad Firhan Ashari and Mohd Fitri Saari, while Japan’s two goals were contributed by Kenta Tanaka and Tomonori Ono.
Beng Hai however did not consider the slim win over Japan a shortcoming as he had anticipated a tough fight against Japan or Poland in the semi-final.
“Our play was rather messy today despite the early goal,” he said.
Meanwhile, Japanâ€™s national coach, Kang Keon Wook said even though his team lost to Malaysia, he was still happy with the better performance showed by the team. – Bernama