You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Hockey World Cup: Malaysia beat Japan to ensure improved final standing

Sinar Daily logo Sinar Daily 28/1/2023

Malaysia beat Japan 3-2, to set up a final classification playoff for 13th and 14th spot at the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup in Rourkela, India today © Provided by Sinar Daily Malaysia beat Japan 3-2, to set up a final classification playoff for 13th and 14th spot at the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup in Rourkela, India today ROURKELA - Malaysia will at least finish the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup with a slight improvement from their 15th place finish five years ago after defeating Japan 3-2 in theiir 13th to 16th classification playoff match at the Birsa Munda Stadium here today.

The victory means Malaysia's final match of this World Cup edition will be against either Chile, who they beat 3-2 in the preliminary round group stage, or France to determine 13th and 14th spot in the final classification.

Malaysia started off on a positive note, putting behind their disappointing penalty corner strike rate throughout the tournament, by converting their first opportunity today via Shello Silverius in the seventh minute.

But disaster struck in the 19th and 28th minutes, when firstly captain Marhan Jalil was shown the yellow caard, forcing him to sit out seven minutes, which allowed Japan to capitalise on their man's advantage when Kaito Tanaka struck a field goal in the 23rd minute.

Then in the 28th minute, Faizal Saari was shown the green card, forcing him to sit out three minutes, and again Japan capitalised on their numerical advantage with Seren Tanaka bagging a field goal.

Parity restored at the start of the second half, Malaysia surged forward and Shello again turned hero when he netted the equaliser in the 31st minute, before Shahmi Irfan Suhaimi grabbed the winner in the 33rd minute.

It was a tense end to the third quarter as Malaysia faced a barrage of Japanese attacks, but the defence held strong to fend off five penalty corners.

The tension elevated in the final quarter as first Japan went a man down when Masaki Ohashi was shown the yellow card in the 45th minute and in the closing stages Malaysia first saw Ramadan Rosli sit out three minutes after being flashed the green card in the 52nd minute, and then Najmi Jazlan's yellow card in the 58th minute saw Malaysia end the match with 10 men.

"The players rose to the occasion and did well, especially in the second quarter with movement, marking and repositioning and it was evident that they wanted to win this game. Also, we conceded many penalty corners but our first runners and defence did particularly well to thwart the Japanese," said coach Arul Selvaraj.

"We had a heart-to-heart chat with the players and they all realised what they need to do to restore the motivation, as we needed to win this match and ensure that we went back to Malaysia carrying this winning momentum to continue our preparations for the Asian Games, which is the next assignment."

To add to the victory, 23-year old Sabahan Shello was named Man of the Match and Arul said the award was well deserved.

"I think it was a well deserved award for him as Shello, despite his young age, has become a key player for us. He is also a very intelligent player, especially with his movement without the ball. On top of that his workrate was very high, especially his efforts to win back the ball for us. His performances have been very commendable," said Arul.

More from Sinar Daily

Sinar Daily
Sinar Daily
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon