ACT 2023: Japan beat China 2-1 to stay in semifinal hunt

Chennai, Aug 9 (PTI) Japan edged past China 2-1 in their final round robin league match to stay in contention for a semifinal spot in the 2023 Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament here on Wednesday.

All the three goals in the match came via penalty corners. For Japan, Shota Yamada (8th minute) and Kentaro Fukuda (54th) found the net, while China’s lone goal was scored by Suozhu Ao in the 57th minute.

By virtue of this win, Japan have now moved to five points, same as fourth placed Pakistan and defending champion South Korea but remained on fifth spot and their fate now rest on the results of the last two league matches.

The opening quarter saw possession-based play from both the sides.

Even though China tried to keep their defence compact, Japan took the lead in the eighth minute when Yamada converted the match’s first penalty corner with a flick to the left-bottom corner of the goal.

The early goal rocked China as Japan came out with positive intent in the second quarter.

While Japan missed a penalty corner initially into the second quarter, they earned a penalty stroke later, only to be overturned following a successful video referral by China.

The Chinese could only manage one chance in the quarter as Japan enjoyed a slender 1-0 advantage at half-time.

After the change of sides, both the sides created a few chances but to no avail. Trailing, China came out with positive intent in the final quarter with three straight attacks on the Japanese citadel but failed to make use of them.

While Fukuda doubled Japan’s lead in the 54th from another penalty corner, China struck back three minutes later, too from a set pet piece through Ao to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

But it wasn’t enough, as the Japanese prevailed to keep their outside hopes alive.

Source: PTI News


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