MALAYSIA finaly found their rhythm to finish fifth by beating Japan 3-1 in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh Saturday.
Japan, after surprising Australia 3-2 on Friday, were heavy footed while Malaysia still had fitness and speed on their side after edging India 1-0.
Haziq Shamsul (eigtht), Firhan Ashaari (11th) and Faizal Shaari (34th) scored for Malaysia while Kaito Tanaka scored for Japan in the 28th minute.
The match was stopped with one minute from the end of the third quarter due to torrential rain and only resumed after obe hour and 20 minutes, but Malaysia held on to win.
However, Malaysia bungled six penalty corers out of eight, with Haziq scoring off a set-piece while Faizal's was a direct flick.
On the defensive side, Malaysia were super efficient as they stopped Japan in all the five penalty corners with good run-outs.
"We recovered fast after the India match and it is good that we ended the tournament with a win even though we could not improve on our fourth placing last year.
"Penalty corners were a big problem in this tournament for us and that is one area we need to work on before the World League semi-finals in London (June 15-25).
"However, we defender penalty corners very well in this tournament and that was among the positive elements we will take away from this tournament," said national coach Stephen van Huizen.
Japan coach Yamabori Takahiko said his team's main problem is consistency.
"My players failed because they are not mentally strong to ride on the win against Australia and this is our main problem.
"After this, we will hold a two-week camp to get ready for the World League semifinals and I might hold another selection to give a chance to some of the players who are right now training in Japan," said Yamabori.
RESULTS: Final: Australia x Britain x; Third-Fourth: New Zealand 0 India 4; Fifth-Sixth: Malaysia 3 Japan 1.