Pakistan beat Japan to bag bronze medal in Azlan Shah Cup

IPOH: Pakistan hockey team ended their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup campaign on a high note as they held off Japan 5-3 to finish in the top three for the first time after 11 years.

The national side, clinched the bronze medal as they beat Japan in the third-four placing game on Wednesday.

The Green Shirts earned their first medal in the championship after a long hiatus of over a decade. Previously, they claimed the second position and won a silver medal back in 2011.

Kentaro Fukuda scored the opener for Japan in the ninth minute but Pakistan Hanan Shahid neutralized the lead in the next minute with a superb field goal.

Pakistan dominated the opponents in the second quarter as Arbaz Ahmed netted the ball on a penalty corner in the 17th minute before Rooman took the lead to 3-1, four minutes clear of half-time.

After Yuma Nagai cut Pakistan’s advantage to one goal in the 30th minute, Rooman scored his second goal four minutes later to wrestle to take Green Shirts at ease.

In the last quarter, Japan made an excellent comeback as Nagai clawed in with another field goal in the 49th minute before Pakistan’s Abdul Rana sailed his side home.

It is worth mentioning here that Umer-Bhutta led side finished in the fourth position in the round-robin stage of the tournament featuring six teams.

The final of the event will be held today between the hosts Malaysia and Korea on November 10 (Thursday).

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