IPOH: Pakistan destined Japan to the bottom of the table with a comfortable 4-1 win in their final group match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh.
The win also ensured Pakistan qualify for the fifth placing playoff tomorrow.
“We are hapy to have picked up our second win and qualify for the playoff. It will be a tougher match but it will also help us gain more experience that this side needs, said Pakistan coach KM Junaid.
He added that his main goal was to ensure that the playing structure the team is being built upon is strengthened.
Japan, who had lost all their games in the competition, came back strongly in the fourth quarter but exposed their back in their attempt to search for goals.
Discarding the defensive approach that they had adopted against Australia, Japan played a more open game against the SAF Games champions.
Having not beaten the Pakistani in any of their previous meetings and having lost 0-7 in their last match up at the Asia Cup in 2013, Japan were again not good enough.
Pakistan dominated the possession but did not find the opening goal until the 20th minute.
Just as it looked like Pakistan were not taking their chances well inside the D, Ali Shan picked up the ball in close range inside the D slotted the ball past Takashi Yoshikawa.
Within four minutes they had doubled the lead. Abbas Tasawar dazzled his way past the Japanese defense but his attempt from an acute angle hit the post and fell on to the path of Rizwan Ali, Rizwan had the easiest of task to tap the ball into an open goal.
Japan began to tighten their game and played with more cohesion towards the end of the third quarter and began to make some headway inside the Pakistani D.
In the 48th minute Shota Yamada, who had squandered three previous attempt was on target this time with a direct hit that had Imran Butt beaten.
Hardly had the Japanese side settled down when, Pakistan struck back. They quickly swarmed the Japanese goalmouth and in the melee Muhammad Arslan Qadir slotted the ball in past Takashi Yoshikawa.
Mohamed Arslan found his second of the match in the 57th minute. Rizwan Ali dribbled his way to top D before making an attempt at goal. Muhammad Arslan Qadir, who was lurking near the Japanese keeper and deflected the ball into goal.
Muhammad Arslan, who is now the tournament top scorer with six goals to his name, was also picked as the Man of the Match.
Courtesy : Samaa