Lahore : After a shocking 4-4 draw against Oman on Saturday, Pakistan rebounded to beat Japan 2-1 in the 3-nation hockey tournament at Muscat’s Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.
It was Pakistan’s first win over Japan in five matches, after two defeats and two draws and should serve as a morale booster for the final on Tuesday.
The first half was scoreless.
Mubashar Ali broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute when he converted a penalty corner.
Withing 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 have 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 on Tuesday 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.
Pakistan: 2, Japan: 1
Pakistan: Mubashar Ali (32′ off penalty corner), Umar Bhutta (48′)
Japan: Kenta Tanaka (34′ off penalty corner))