Malaysia crashed to their fifth consecutive defeat in the Asian Zone (Group C) Olympic qualifying football match, going down tamely to fancied Japan 0-4 at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil Wednesday night.
The Japanese scored through Hiroki Sakai (36th minute), Yuya Osako (45th), Genki Haraguchi (55th) and Manabu Saito (60th) to top the four-group standings on 12 points.
Only 3.5 slots are available to Asia for the London Games (July 27-Aug 12). The three group winners advance automatically while the three runners-up will play another round of matches.
The winners will then face a play-off against another qualifier from Africa.
Bottom-placed Malaysia will wrap up their fixtures against Syria at the Prince Mohammed Stadium on March 14.
National Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee’s boys lacked the finesse of making the right decision in the crucial moment and it proved to be the downfall of the team.
After an admirable performance in the early stages of the match, the team just repeated the same old routine of losing focus.
Goalkeeper-cum-skipper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat did well to make some good saves but could not maintain his strong performances shown in Fukuoka when they went down to the same Japan side 0-2 September last year.
Malaysia did look dangerous on several occasions, especially striker A. Thamil Arasu, who came the closes to putting his name on the score sheet but his low shot in the 40th minute was easily palmed away to safety by Japanese keeper Gonda Shuichi.