JAKARTA, May 31 — Malaysia thrashed Japan 5-0 in the Asia Cup Hockey tournament at the Gelora Bung Karno Hockey Stadium here, to book a spot in the final.
With both teams beginning the game cautiously, the ‘The Speedy Tigers’ squad opened the scoring at the end of the first quarter, through a field goal by Shello Silverius in the 15th minute.
Malaysia dominated the match and launched several attempts in the second quarter but was denied by Japanese goalkeeper Koji Yamasaki.
Nik Muhammad Aiman Nik Rozemi finally doubled the lead in the 30th minute and Muhammad Razie Abd Rahim’s penalty corner in the 35th minute made it 3-0.
Brimming with confidence, A. Arul Selvaraj’s charges made it 4-0 in the same minute through Muhammad Syafiq Hassan’s field goal, while Mohamad Ashran Hamsani put the icing on the cake with the fifth goal in the 42nd minute.
Speaking to reporters after the match, captain Muhamad Marhan Mohd Jalil said all the players had given their best performance and remained focused to prevent Japan from scoring goals.
“Preparations for the final have started with today’s match. Tomorrow we will do our best to win,” he said.
Arul Selvaraj praised all the players for beating Japan, who are also the 2018 Asian Games gold medalists.
“All the players prepare for each and every match, I just give them guidance. I believe if we empower them, they will emerge stronger,” he said, adding that the team could take a brief moment to celebrate the victory today before returning to the pitch tomorrow with a chance to make history.
In the final scheduled for tomorrow, Malaysia will meet either India or South Korea who play in the Super 4 today, while Japan will play in the third-place match.