LAHORE, Feb 19 (INP) – Pakistan beat Japan 2-1 to breeze into final of the 3-Nation hockey tournament at Muscat Sultan Qaboos sports complex.
According to information made available here on Monday by the Pakistan Hockey Federation, it was Pakistan’s first win over Japan in five international matches played so far, after two defeats and two draws and should serve as a morale booster for the final being played tomorrow, (Tuesday).
The first half was scoreless. Mubashar Ali broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute when he converted a penalty corner. Within two minutes, Japan equalised through Kenta Tanaka, also off a PC. Both the sides fought hard to go ahead.
In the 48th minute, Pakistan again took the lead through their experienced striker Umar Bhutta and it remained 2-1 when the match ended.
Pakistan has completed their four matches of the double league phase earning eight points.
Japan (four points) and Oman (one point) would play the last match of the league on Monday. Only a big Oman win over Japan would enable hosts to qualify for the final against Pakistan as Japan have a goal difference of +1 while Oman’s goal difference is of -6.
In all probability, it will be a Pakistan vs Japan final.
Scorers, Pakistan: Mubashar Ali (32′ off penalty corner), Umar Bhutta (48′) Japan: Kenta Tanaka (34′ off penalty corner).