Malaysia clinch bronze as India, Pakistan joint champs

Malaysia claimed the bronze medal by prevailing 3-2 in the penalty shootout against Japan after the two teams were tied 2-2 in regulation period.

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 regulation period, Japan took the initial lead through a field goal from Kenji Kitazato in the 18th minute, only to see Saari equalise 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 equalise 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.

India and Pakistan were declared joint winners of the Hero Asian Champions Trophy on Sunday after a thunderstorm and heavy showers forced the final to be abandoned.

The storm arrived just ahead of the title encounter. After waiting for the storm to subside for more than an hour, it became apparent that it would not be possible to start the match on Sunday. After a meeting between the officials of the two teams and the Technical Delegate, Brian Fernandez of Malaysia, it was decided that the two be adjudged joint winners.

In four previous editions, both holders India and Pakistan had won the title two times each.

India won the toss of coin supervised by His Highness Sayyid Taimur Asaad Tariq Al Said. Indian captain Manpreet Singh won toss and earned the right to take home the trophy of the biennial tournament for the first year. It will be given to Pakistan for the next year.

The tournament gold medals were presented to the Pakistan players. Asian Hockey Federation’s Chief Executive, Dato Tayyab Ikram said gold medals will soon be sent for the Indian players.

The following players were awarded individual recognition:

Hero Player of the Tournament: Akashdeep Singh (India)

Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament: P.R. Sreejesh (India)

Highest Scorer of the Tournament: Faisal Saari (Malayia).

Emerging Player of the Tournament: Abu Bakkar Mahmood (Pakistan)