Chennai, August 7, 2023: The Hero Asian Champions Trophy 2023 continued to deliver intense and gripping hockey action on its fourth day at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium. With three exhilarating matches, fans were treated to a showcase of skill, determination, and drama on the field. Japan faced Malaysia in a clash of chances, Pakistan secured a hard-fought victory against China, and India triumphed in a close encounter against Korea.


Japan was slow to start but produced countless chances only to let them slip away while Malaysia got back to winning ways after a 0-5 thrashing to Indian in the previous match.

It was a case of too little too late for Japan as it squandered multiple chances and fell to a 3-1 defeat against Malaysia at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium here on Monday.

Japan was slow to start but produced countless chances only to let them slip away – a tale that would feel familiar to coach Akira Takahashi by now. Malaysia hung by a thread for three quarters but came out with a spot in the semifinals.

The Speedy Tigers started with its backline holding the ball, before channeling it out to the flanks.

They got their first look at goal when Shota Yamada failed to sort his feet out and conceded a penalty corner. But Japan escaped unscathed as postman Kaito Tanaka deflected Razie Rahim’s drag over the goal.

Malaysia was equally proficient in defense, not offering an inch of space for Japan’s forwards to enter its circle.

It got a second bite at the cherry in the 13th minute and Najmi Jazlan grabbed it as his drag flick crept between the legs of first rusher Yamada to put Malaysia ahead.

But the next three quarters turned out to be starkly different as Japan’s forwards found their bearings. What they could not find, though, was a goal.

The first chance came through a counter. Yamata copped a dangerous drag flick on his body which won Japan a free hit. It was taken quickly to release Ryosei Kato on the right flank. Kato darted to the final third before sending it into the circle only to see the ball beat the forward.

Kaito Tanaka then took a shot from the top of the circle which was carried away by Zaimi Mat Deris.

By the end of the second period, Japan forced the whole Malaysia team to play behind the 23-yard line. Genki Mitani made two entries to the circle but failed to trouble Mat Deris. Japan had a penalty corner too which Masaki Ohashi sent off target.

Malaysia’s captain committed a howler early in the third quarter as he gifted the ball to Ryoma Ooka in his own circle. Ooka squandered the sitter from point-blank range.

In the 37th minute, against the run of play, Malaysia found its second when Fitri Saari entered the circle and hit a Japanese foot. Azuan Hasan did not bother waiting for a corner and played advantage. He slapped the loose ball towards the goal which teased its way into the goal off a deflection.

Japan won a short corner in the very next minute but Takuma Niwa’s sliding deflection could not sound the board.

The Samurai Japan thudded the board in the 43rd minute but their joy was cut short as Seren Tanaka’s shot came from outside the striking circle.

In the 52nd minute, Taiki Takade ventured into the circle and squared the ball to Kosei Kawabe who missed the target. The final nail in Japan’s coffin came one minute from time as Shello Silverius rounded keeper Takumi Kitagawa and struck from close range to make it 3-0.

Japan found its consolation goal in the same minute when Niwa trapped an aerial and put it into the net with a reverse stick.

HERO of the Match was No. 18 JALI Faiz, while the DAFA Young Player of the Match was No. 1 ABDU Muhajir both from Malaysia.

The winner of today’s game will face Korea to define its place in the standings, while Japan will play against China to define the last places in the standings.


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About the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF)

The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) is the governing body for the sport of hockey in Asia, recognized by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). Founded in 1958, the AHF today has 33 Member National Associations and organizes and sanctions more than twenty types of continental and regional events across all levels and age groups as well as overseeing the hockey competitions in several multi-sport events such as the Asian Games.

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