MUSCAT: It was a sweet revenge for Malaysia as they overcame Japan 3-2 in a penalty shootout in the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament held at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, Muscat on Sunday.
Malaysia and Japan were locked in a 2-2 at the final hooter but the Malaysians got the better of Japanese in the penalties to secure third place finish in the tournament.
Billed as a repeat of the Asian Games hockey final held in Jakarta, both teams looking to stamp their supremacy on the game began on a subdued note ending the first quarter with moving the scoreboard.
Japan, then opened up the game using their flanks to make inroads into the opposition, it was in the 18th minute when Kenji Kitazato received a pass to score from a field goal and give Japan a 1-0 lead, two minutes later Malaysia was awarded a penalty corner after the ball hit the foot of a Japanese defender, Faisal Saari who has top scored for Malaysia made it 1-1 to go into the half time break.
The Asian Games gold medallists, Japan looking to up the tempo by resorting to aggressive play received two green cards with Kazuki Yoneda being sent off in the 27th minute of the second quarter while Seren Tanaka got one in the first two minutes of the third quarter with both teams still looking to break the deadlock in the first period of the second half.
With the pushback of the fourth quarter Malaysia immediately stormed the Japanese citadel and it was Faisal Saari again who doubled his tally by giving his team a 2-1 lead, but Japan not to be out done broke back through Hirotaka Wakuri to level the score at 2-2 in the 48th minute to take the match into a penalty shootout at the final buzzer.