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Asian Games 2018
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Japan jolts Malaysia in a thrilling final (9/1/2018)
--s2h Team
In a thriller of a final, despite trailing by 4-1 early in the match, Japan jolted Malaysia to claim its first Asian Games hockey gold. The final played against full stands presented one of best hockey seen in the recent times, though no such indicaitons were there when Malaysia easily piled up good lead early.

The match transformed totally in the last ten minutes of the game when Japan struck four goals and Malaysia one. The Japanese showed the world their arrival in style with a kind of game whose hall mark is doing the basics right, and never lose hearts when chips are down.

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Malaysia will rue their misfortune today. They came close to Gold, turned out to be a case of a classic case of slip between Cup and lip. Playing only their second Asian Games final despite taking for in all the previous 17 editions, Malaysia seemed sailing easily to the target of gold. On the other hand, you have a team that stunned four time winner Korea in the league and 8-time winners Pakistan in the semis. Japan were out to prove their wins so far were not fluke, but built on the solid foundation of hard work and strategic one up man ship.

When Malaysia took a 3-1 lead in the first quarter and then was sitting pretty with a 5-2 score till ten minutes for the final hooter, the final of the Jakarta Asian Games was meandering to a predictable winner. However, the gritty Japanese, whose ladies have already won their maiden Gold, set the turf on fire in the remainder of the time, scoring four goals to draw the encounter to 6-6 at the end of regulation time.

5-2 lead in the 50th minute to see levelled 5-5 in the space of 8 minutes was a horror on field. But when Tengku Tajuddin struck off ap penalty corner, Malaysian tag was up with 6-5 lead, and a minute to spare. However, a controversial penalty corner given by Korean umpire Hong Lae Kim saw Japan's Hiromasa Ochiai again bringing parity (6-6). In the shoot out, Japan emerged winner with a 1-3 score.

Its a grand double for the Japan, whom many did not predict the possible finalists to say the least.

Japan men defeated Pakistan in the semi-final, before that Korea in the league to progress to today's final, and then made a history by winning the gold in this dramatic way.

Its a crestfallen Malaysians who received the Silver at the hands of their own King, who is also president of the Asian Hockey Federation.

Earlier, India defeated traditional rival Pakistan 2-1 win bronze.

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