Australia edged Japan 2-1 in the opening match of the 9th edition of the Sultan Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium.
It was a highly entertaining match where the Aussies dominated with two attempts coming off the post.
“ We were a bit unlucky but the three points are a welcome as Japan beat us in the opening match last year,” said Australia coach Ben Bishop.
“ We got together for the first time as a team last Monday and so overall it was a decent performance and outcome.”
Australia had won the tournament twice and are looking towards becoming the first team to win it for the third time.
As for Japan, a good start was vital in their quest to finish amongst the top 3.
Australia opened scoring as early as the 3rd minute through Ehren Hazel.
Stung by the early setback, Japan doubled their effort and were duly rewarded with an equaliser via Takuma Niwa in the 15th minute.
Australia forced four penalty corners in the second quarter but determined defending by Japan foiled them on all occasions.
An opportunist strike by Hazel in the 33rd minute gave Australia a 2-1 lead.
Australia take on Malaysia on Sunday.
“ We always look forward to playing Malaysia as the atmosphere in totally awesome for the players,” said Bishop.
“ We respect them and from what I have seen they are a fast and skilful team.”