Malaysia will be on a face-saving mission tomorrow while Japan battle for a place in the final of the Sultan of Johor Cup at Taman Daya Stadium. Pic by NSTP/HAIRUL ANUAR RAHIM

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will be on a face-saving mission tomorrow while Japan battle for a place in the final of the Sultan of Johor Cup at Taman Daya Stadium.

Coach Nor Saiful Zaini's boys have only one draw against New Zealand to show from four matches, and they face Japan in their last pool match.

However, Japan are tied on seven points with Britain and need a win to keep their chances alive. India have confirmed their final slot on 12 points with a match in hand against Britain.

Win, lose or draw against Japan will still see Malaysia play for the fifth spot against New Zealand. For the record the Kiwis forced a 5-5 draw in their earlier encounter.

"Of course this is a very disappointing situation for my players but still, they will end the tournament with international exposure, which is sorely lacking for this group," said Nor Saiful.

"We will be playing for pride in the next two matches, and I expect Japan to throw everything they have against us Friday," said the Olympian.

For Saiful, the biggest problem in his team is “ball watching”.

"They tend to freeze during crucial moments and end up 'ball watching'. This was the cause of the big defeat against Britain (5-1), and we will drill this aspect into them to make sure it does not happen against a speedy Japan side."

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