MUSCAT, October 28: Malaysia claimed the bronze medal by prevailing 3-2 in the penalty shootout against Japan after the two teams were tied 2-2 in the regulation period at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex here on Sunday.
In a dramatic shootout, Japan faltered on their first two attempts while Malaysia scored on both. Then came Malaysia’s turn to miss and they muffed the next two attempts, while Japan scored both of these to be 2-2 level after four shootout attempts.
Tengku Tajuddin clinched the issue for Malaysia with the fifth shootout after Wataru Matsumoto’s shot for Japan rebounded off the post. Aiman Nik Rozemi and Norsyafiq Sumantri had earlier scored for Malaysia, while Mahran Jalil and Syed Cholan failed to do so.
For Japan, Hiromasa Ochiai and Hirotaka Wakuri found the target in the shootout, but Koji Yamasaki and Seren Tanaka faltered.
In the regulation period, Japan took the initial lead through a field goal from Kenji Kitazato in the 18th minute, only to see Faizal Saari equalize with a penalty corner two minutes later.
Saari’s was again on target in the 46th minute with a field goal for Malaysia, but even their lead was short-lived. This time Wakuri scored in open play to equalize for Japan within two minutes and the contest went to the shootout.
Malaysia’s coach, Roelant Oltmans said the bronze medal contest was a close encounter like most games in the tournament. “We lost the last game on a shootout but won this one. Glad to have won our last match, but I would have liked it to be the final,” said Oltmans.
Seigfried Aikman, coach of the Japan team, said his team played well but missed too many chances.
“Today was not our day. It was one of the days when everything you do goes wrong,” said Aikman.