Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Malaysia registered a fighting 2-1 win over Japan in a nail-biting 9-12 classification match of the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 at the Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela on Saturday.

Silverius Shello (seventh and 31st minutes) scored a brace and Shahmie Irfan Suhaimi (33rd minute) struck the other goal for the winning team. On the other hand, Tanaka Kaito (23rd minute) and Tanaka Seren (31st minute) sounded the board once for Japan.

Malaysia started with an attacking instinct and in the process earned their first penalty corner as early as the seventh minute of the match. It was duly converted by Silverius Shello and Malaysia opened their account. They earned another PC five minutes later, but failed to grab the opportunity. The first quarter ended 1-0 in Malaysia’s favour.

In the second half, Japan made amends and created their first penalty corner chance in the 23rd minute. Tanaka Kaito capitalized the chance to find the equalizer. The match ended with a 1-1 deadlock after the end of the first half.

The second half was a keenly-contested affair. Tanaka Seren from Japan scored a brilliant field goal just first minute into the third quarter to increase their lead to 2-1. Malaysia retaliated immediately and earned two back-to-back penalty corners in the 31st and 33rd minutes respectively. 

Those chances were converted by Silverius Shello and Shahmie Irfan Suhaimi respectively to increase their lead to 3-2. Japan tried their best to claw back into the game by getting as many as five penalty corners in the penultimate quarter, but those chances were thwarted by the agile defenders of Malaysia.

The fourth quarter finished barren despite some attacking hockey by both teams. While two Malaysian players got a yellow and green card, a Japanese player also got a green card in the process.