Malaysia achieved a double after their 3-1 win over Japan in the 7th Junior asia Cup at the MBMB Stadium in Malacca, Malaysia.
Not only did they cement their place in the Junior World Cup to be played in New Delhi in November next year but also finished on the top of Group A and avoided a potentially difficult semis clash against Pakistan.
Malaysia take on India in the first semis on Thursday with Pakistan playing South Korea.
Japan needed a five goal win to pip Malaysia for a place in the last four while Malaysia needed a draw.
But the presence of MHC President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and NSC Director General Dato Zolkples Embong spurred the Malaysians to comeback from a goal down to seal their third win in as many matches.
Japan took the lead against the run of play as Yohei Mori sneaked in from the blind side to slot the ball past an uprooted Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri in the Malaysian goal.
Malaysia was awarded their first penalty corner in the 9th minute but the attempt by Faisal Saari was kept out by Japanese keeper Daisuke Kusano.
However skipper Mohd Noor Faeez Ibrahim got it right in the second penalty corner as he sent a low flick to beat Kusano in the 14th minute.
Faisal could have put Malaysia 2-1 ahead but his thunderous shot from the edge of the semi circle was kept out by the bar and bounced out of play, much to the dismay of the 3,000 odd fans.
And where the Japanese keeper failed to stop the shots of the Malaysians, the upright stood in the way as Faeez Ibrahim’s penalty corner in the 22nd minute hit the upright and Japan were relieved.
In the closing stages of the first half it was all Malaysia had they had Japan pinned in defence but could not convert the dominance into goals.
Malaysia continued where they left off in the first half as they attacked relentlessly but none of the attempts were on target. Even the two penalty corners awarded to Malaysia in the 37th and 48th minutes was wasted.
Japan had the ball in the net in the 50th minute off a penalty corner rebound by Heita Yoshihara but it was ruled out for an infringement by umpire Fernando Gomez of Argentina.
Another penalty corner was wasted by Malaysia before they scored their second as Fitri Saari played a neat through ball to Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof to sweep the ball past Kusano to give Malaysia a 2-1 lead in the 57th minute.
And Faisal sealed the win with a third in the 67th minute.