Junior Asia Cup: Malaysia secure last-eight spot despite Japan stalemate

Malaysia’s Junior Hockey squad qualified for the quarter-final of the Junior Asia Cup, despite a rather frustrating 2-2 draw against Japan in Kuantan, yesterday.

The home side dominated the game from the get go and even claimed the lead on the 15th minute mark, with Azwar Rahman firing home to make it 1-0.

But Japan kept pushing on the offensive and eventually punished Malaysia’s lapse in concentration by restoring parity through a penalty corner on the 49th minute.

Arul Selvaraj’s boys were visibly pushing for a win, but they were struggling to break Japan’s resilient defence down. But with merely four minutes left on the clock, Haziq Samsul found the back of the net to make it 2-1.
Just when the hosts though they had the match wrapped up, Japan pulled off an incredible upset by scoring through a penalty corner on the last minute, ending the match at 2-2.

The result allowed India to win the group comfortably, while Malaysia and Japan were tied in second place with four points each. However, the hosts will head into the quarters by virtue of having a better goal difference.

Malaysia will next face South Korea while group winners India will face Oman in the quarter-final on Thursday.

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