LAHORE: Japan defeated Pakistan 3-2 in an interesting final to win the three-nation hockey tournament at Muscat’s Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Two thousand capacity stadium was jam packed mostly with the Pakistani expats and fast up and down game was witnessed, said the information made available by the Pakistan Hockey Federation.
Japan availed their first penalty corner in the fourth minute with a deceptive two touch indirect drill. Yamasaki, standing close to the goal, caressed the ball in with an extended flat stick.
A quick counter resulted in the second Japanese goal in the 12th minute after a spate of one touch passes. Pakistani defence was guilty of poor marking in the circle.
Within two minutes, Pakistan pulled back one when captain Rizwan Senior’s ball from left side went high in the circle off a defender’s stick and Arslan Qadir expertly put it in from near the goal.There was no goal in the second quarter and Japan led the first half 2-1.
In the second half also, the pattern was mostly the same; fluent hockey. Japanese displayed planned game with their attacks coming through swift counters. One such turn over resulted in the third Japanese goal in the 50th minute.
Down by two goals with just 10 minutes left, Pakistan worked hard to come back. They had a couple of open chances and two penalty corners. Off their last PC in the 56th minute Mubashar Ali’s strong push hit the board on goal keeper’s right. But time ran out for them.
Scorers, Japan: Koji Yamasaki (4′ off PC), Kazuma Murata (12′), Hirotaka Wikuri (50′) Pakistan: Arslan Qadir (14′), Mubashar Ali (56′ off PC).