The host Japan reasserted its supremacy over Malaysia with a flattering 6-1 win in the bronze medal match of the Olympic Hockey Test Event in Tokyo on Wednesday. It is perhaps the biggest win ever recorded by Japan over Malaysia. In the 2018 Asian Games, Japan had beaten Malaysia 3-1 in the penalty shootout after an absorbing 6-6 draw. For Malaysia, the Test Event turned out to be a disaster as it lost all its four games, including two games against the host Japan.
Malaysia had taken the lead in the 29th minute through Shahril Saabah after a barren first quarter. As the teams changed ends, Japan was a different team. It attacked Malaysia relentlessly and scored virtually at will to notch up an impressive 6-1 to the great excitement of the home crowd. Japan had lost 3-6 to India in the semi-finals.
Two penalty corner goals by Yashiki Kirihata and another by Kenta Watanabe besides a penalty stroke conversion by Hirotaka Zandana – he also scored the sixth and last goal for Japan – were the main scorers for the home team that had already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games by winning the Asian Games title in Jakarta last year. Malaysia with Roeland Oltmans as its Head Coach has yet to taste a major success in any tournament in 2019.