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Thursday, 17 May 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM

Our girls upset Japan in Champions Trophy

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia pulled off a stunning upset over Japan in the women’s Asian Hockey Champions Trophy in Donghae City, South Korea.

The Tigress, who lost their first two matches against South Korea and China despite hard-fought attempts, made no mistake this time as they claimed an impressive 3-2 win over world No. 12 Japan at the Sunrise Stadium yesterday.

The world No. 22 Malaysians got off to a flying start right in the first minute as Nur Zafirah Aziz collected a lucky rebound off Wan Norfaiezah Saiuti to smash it past Japanese custodian Akio Tanaka.

Malaysia however failed to clear their lines in the ninth minute and Yui Ishibashi was on hand to level the scores.

That did not deter Malaysia and they went ahead in the second quarter as Fatin Shafika Mohd Shukri converted in the 19th minute through a penalty corner.

They then went 3-1 up at the stroke of half-time with a brilliant conversion by Nuraslinda Said.

Japan came back strong in the second half and pulled one back through Minami Shimizu in the 34th minute.

But Malaysia held their own and defended stoutly to pick up their first win in the five-nation round-robin competition.

“It always feels good to win against a team ranked higher than us.

“The players deserve the credit as they played well with unbelievable fighting spirit,” said national coach K. Dharmaraj.

“We went into the match handicapped as we were without an injured Raja (Norsharina Raja Shabuddin) but the other players stepped up and rose to the occasion.

“It is a really good win in hindsight.

“We would have finished last if we lost today and it was clear that we’re improving day-by-day.”

The win is certainly a boost for Malaysia before their final round-robin match against India today.

Malaysia, who are currently fourth in the standings, need a positive result and hope Japan lose to China tomorrow in order to qualify for the third place playoff match.

Meanwhile, world No. 10 India picked up their second win by beating world No. 8 China 3-1 yesterday.