Japan edged Malaysia 1-0 in their second encounter of the International Friendly Series 2021 being played in Malaysia.
A lone Kazuma Murata goal gave Japan a close 1-0 win over Malaysia in their second encounter of the International Friendly Series here at the Bukit Jalil National Hockey Stadium.
Showing a lot more composure, the Malaysians were more compact as they did not give Japan the space to roam.
And with more emphasis on attacking down the right flank, the Malaysians came close in the 12th minute with a shot in from Syed Mohamad Syafiq Syed Cholan that Mohd Akhimullah came close to connect.
With Malaysia missing out on two penalty corners, Japan’s quick counter-attack down the left in the 29th minute saw Kazuma Murata flicking the ball into the goal for them to take a 1-0 lead at the half.
The game went up a gear as both teams were not showing any sign of a let-up.
Japanese keeper Takahashi made several crucial saves to prevent the home team from sounding the backboard as the score remained unchanged into the final quarter.
It was Japan who then cranked up the pressure but with the Malaysian defence holding fast, a quick counter saw the homesters earning what was a last gasp penalty corner.
But again, custodian Yoshikawa was just in his element as he stopped Malaysia’s attempt to give Japan the slim victory.