It was too late for Japan as it squandered multiple chances and lost 3-1 against Malaysia at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium on Monday.
Japan was slow to begin with, but its countless chances have only let them slip away – a story that will now sound familiar to coach Akira Takahashi. Malaysia stayed on the tightrope for three quarters but came out with a place in the semi-finals.
The Speedy Tigers started by holding the ball in their backline before channeling the ball into the flanks.
The goal was scored for the first time when Shota Yamada couldn’t get his feet off and accepted a corner kick. Japan was unharmed, however, when postman Kaito Tanaka turned Razie Rahim’s shot into goal.
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Malaysia were equally proficient in defense and offered not an inch of room for the Japanese forwards to enter their circle.
He took a second bite of the cherry at 13 minutes and Najmi Jazlan caught him with a drag action between the legs of the first runner Yamada to put Malaysia ahead.
But the next three quarters were completely different as Japan’s forwards found their way. But what they couldn’t find was a gold.
First chance came from a counter. Yamata made a dangerous drag move on his body that earned Japan a free kick. Ryosei from the right flank was quickly taken to free Kato. Kato jumped into the final third before sending him into the circle only to see the ball beat the striker.
Kaito Tanaka then shot from the top of the rim and was parried by Zaimi Mat Deris.
At the end of the second period, Japan forced the entire Malaysian team to play behind the 23-yard line. Genki Mitani made two entrances to the circle but failed to disturb Mat Deris. There was also a penalty corner in Japan where Masaki Ohashi scored.
The Malaysian captain made a howling noise early in the third quarter as he presented the ball to Ryoma Ooka in his own circle. Ooka squandered the sitter at close range.
In the 37th minute, Malaysia found a second against the pace of the game when Fitri Saari entered the rim and hit a Japanese foot. Azuan Hasan did not bother to wait for a corner and played advantageously. He slapped the freed ball into the goal, which was advancing towards the goal from a deflection.
Japan won a short corner in the next minute, but Takuma Niwa’s sliding deflection failed to sound the board.
Samurai Japan punched the board in the 43rd minute, but their joy was interrupted by Seren Tanaka’s arrival from outside the batting circle.
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In the 52nd minute, Taiki Takade entered the ring and squared Kosei Kawabe, who missed the ball from the goalkeeper. The final nail in Japan’s coffin came a minute later, as Shello Silverius rounded goalkeeper Takumi Kitagawa and hit him at close range, making the score 3-0.
Japan found its consolation target in the same minute as Niwa grabbed an antenna and threw it into the net with a reverse stick.
Malaysia 3 (Najmi Jazlan 13′, Azuan Hasan 37′, Shello Silverius 59′) beat Japan 1 (Takuma Niwa 59′)
Pakistan beat China 2-1
Pakistan beat China 2-1 at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium on Monday, a feat it has so far failed to achieve in the Asian Champions Cup – retaining its lead.
The young forward line, consisting of Abdul Rana, Abdul Hannan and Afraz, followed the Chinese defense with dribbling and pace. Mohammed Ammad and Ahtisham Aslam joined defensively to create overload on both flanks.
But the moves were bright sparks and the ensuing composure – the combination that frustrates Pakistan’s hard work throughout the tournament.
Hannan in particular had a few shots on goal, but most of them were reckless punches on goal rather than metered shots.
Pakistan set the course in the first minute when Rana stole the ball from a defender in the Chinese circle.
Two short corners came in Pakistan’s way as well, but China remained on the same level as Abdul Rehman fired the first directly at Caiyu Wang and Mohammed Sufyan Khan was shut down by the first runner.
Sufyan broke the nets with a rocket drag movement in the 19th minute and surrendered the second questioner. Pakistan nearly finished second two minutes later when Zikriya Hayat zoomed into the Chinese half and entered the rim. He set Rehman against Wang one-on-one, but the latter was victorious.
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Three hoop entries were all that had to show China’s offensive attempts in the first half. However, the side won a penalty corner three minutes into the second half with nine outfielders as Pakistan showed Aslam a yellow card. Jiesheng Gao parked his car between the goalkeeper and postman Arshad Liaqat to equalize the competition.
The Green Shirts took the lead again in the 39th minute with a close movement in the circle. Captain Umar Bhutta crossed over to Rana on the left flank, and the reverse batting found Afraz unmarked in the far position.
Akmal Hussain played a leading role in Pakistan by denying Weibai Ao and Benhai Chen.
Pakistan held on in the final period, but was a little nervous. First, Gao made a pass from the right to the rim, which should have sunk into the far goal. Then, one minute after the final whistle, Zixiang Guo was offered a place in the circle. His interruption was met with a clean response and Pakistan breathed a sigh of relief.
Pakistan 2 (Muhammad Sufyan Khan 19′, Afraz 39′) beat China 1 (Jiesheng Gao 33′)
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