By virtue of this win, Malaysia became the second team to qualify for the semifinals from Pool A. Pakistan had already sealed their place in the last-four stage ahead of inconsequential encounter.
     
With three wins from as many matches, Pakistan have topped Pool A with nine points, while Malaysia finished second with six.
     
In all likelihood, Pakistan will take on defending champions South Korea in the first semifinal on Friday, while Malaysia will face India in the other last-four match.
     
India are presently at the top of Pool B with two wins from as many games, while Korea are in the second place. The Indians play minnows Bangladesh in their final pool match
tomorrow, while Korea will be up against debutant Oman.
     
With both the teams in the fray for a semifinal berth, the second match of the day between Malaysia and Japan was expected to be an exciting encounter. It turned out to be one.
     
Malaysia were in for a rude shock early in the match as Japan were the first to seize the initiative when Toshiro Tachibana scored from their first penalty corner in the sixth minute, much to the disappointment of the home spectators gathered at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium.
     
Japan stunned Malaysia again two minutes later through a field goal from Kei Kawakami to quickly surge to a 2-0 lead.
     
But the Malaysians did not give up and worked relentlessly to claw their way back into the match.
     
Malaysia put the Japanese defence under continuous pressure and earned seven penalty corners, out of which five came in the first half. But their execution rate was poor.
     
Credit should also go to the Japanese defence and goalkeeper Akira Morishima who made some good saves.

(Agencies)

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