Malaysia Hockey
Representative image Reuters

Hosts Malaysia take on Japan in the fifth-place match of 2017 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh on Saturday.

Malaysia are heading into the tie on the back of a stunning 1-0 win over former champions India in their final round-robin group match yesterday.

The 14th-ranked national team notched up only their 18th win over India yesterday in 113 meetings, which also prevented the Asian giant from progressing to the final as they needed to win yesterday's clash by at least a two-goal margin to set up a clash with nine-time champions Australia.

However, Malaysia will face an upbeat Japanese side, who will be eyeing their best finish in the tournament history after stunning defending champions Australia 3-2 yesterday. Late goals from their top-scorer Shota Yamada and a brace from Koji Yamasaki made sure Japan cancelled out Australia's 2-0 lead and clinched a rare win over their mighty opposition.

Misfiring Malaysia

While both teams finished the group stages with four points each from five matches, Japan have showed better intent in the competition. The world number 16 have scored 12 goals, nine more than what have managed so far.

Yamada, who has scored four so far, will be key to Japan's chances along with Kenta Tanaka and Koji Yamasaki, who added to their firepower with two goals each.

Malaysia though should take confidence from goalkeeper Subramaniam Kumar's show against India as they will have to come up with another disciplined performance at the back to prevent Japan from running riot.

Team News

Malaysia

Squad: Samsul, Jalil, Fitri, Faizal, Syed, Mutalib, Ashari, Noor, Subramiam, Rahim, Jali, Hassan, Hasan, Othman, Nik, Jazlan, Saabah

Japan

Squad: Yamasaki, Yamada, Mitani, Tanaka, Murata, Hoshi, Tanaka, Yoshihara, Yamashita, Kaito, Sasaki, Fukuda, Watanbe, Ohashi, Zendana, Kameyama, Yoshikawa, Shimmoto