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 February 26, 2002 | 1900 IST
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Malaysia score first victory

Veteran forward Chairil Anwar Aziz was the hero as Malaysia beat Japan by a solitary goal to notch their first victory in the men's hockey World Cup in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

Japan, who drew 2-2 with India in the opening round of matches, suffered their first defeat.

Malaysia, who were beaten 0-3 by Australia in their first match, held the whiphand from the start but tight marking by the Japanese denied them any success till the 27th minute, when Aziz ran in well to deflect a free-hit to the top corner of the Japanese goal.

They hosts continued to apply pressue but without any success. Three penalty-corners too failed to increase the lead.

In the second half, Malaysia wasted a penalty-corner immediately after the restart and then failed to make the most of Japan being reduced to ten men, when Kenichi Katayama was shown the yellow card.

With time ticking away the Japanese launched a feverish search for the equaliser but goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin kept his side's slate clean effecting a fine save from Naoya Iwadate.

In the last few minutes Japan forced three penalty-corners in a row but the Malaysians held on to the relief of the partisan 10,000 crowd.

Malaysia take on India on Wednesday while Japan meet Korea.

Mail Sports Editor

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