MALAYSIA qualified for the Junior World Cup when they beat South Korea 6-3 in the Junior Asia Cup at the MBM Stadium in Malacca yesterday.
The semi-finalists of the tournament will advance to the World Cup in New Delhi next year and Japan need to beat Malaysia by 10 goals tomorrow to deny the hosts a spot in the semis.
Faizal Saari was the toast of the day, as he scored a hat-trick with a penalty corner, penalty stroke and field attempt.
"It was a hard-fought win and now some of the pressure is off the team when they meet Japan. Teamwork won the day as there was good build-up from midfield which resulted in three of the goals," said Malaysian coach K. Dharmaraj.
The national juniors started with a bang when they scored two quick goals by the 13th minute, but their failure to increase the lead gave Korea a chance to make a comeback.
Faizal Saari almost tore the netting with a powerful penalty corner flick in the sixth minute and Syamim Yusof made it 2-0 from an acute angle in the 13th minute which made the 3,500 supporters at the Bukit Serindit Stadium roar with delight.
However, Korea closed the gap with a low penalty corner goal from skipper Yang Jihun in the 22nd minute and the score stood into the breather.
Amir Farid made it 3-1 in the 41st minute and in the 45th minute, a try from Firhan Ashaari hit Lee Mookyoung's foot and a penalty stroke was awarded. Faizal stepped up and made it 4-1.
Korea again reduced the deficit in the 48th minute through Jeong Youngseok, but in the 57th minute Faizal found his hat-trick.
The Koreans again reduced the deficit in the 60th minute through Yang Jihun but Malaysia completed the rout by Noor Faeez in the 67th minute.
Meanwhile, Japan struggled to beat Iran 3-1 in another Group A match yesterday.