JAKARTA: On a day of high scoring matches, Japan joined the fray with a 11-0 victory over Sri Lanka in Group A at the GBK Hockey Stadium.
The Japanese, unlike other teams, do not need to win the gold medal to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
But coach Siegfried Aikman said it was important for the team to prove their worth and at least make the semi-finals. “How we finish is important and our target is to make the semis. We want to prove that we are deserving of a place in the Olympics. So, taking on the elite teams here at the Asian Games means a lot to us”. He added, “The match today seemed easy, but Sri Lanka did make it hard for us. It is good we scored 11 goals and I am also pleased that we had seven goal scorers in the game. I do not see any easy game here and we have to keep on fighting and ensure that we have our structure in place and play a consistent game.
Contrary to the Japanese coach said, it was a rather easy contest for the world 16th ranked team. The Japanese had the run of play throughout the match and scored with rather easy in all quarters.
Kento Tanaka and Kazuma Murata scored a hat-trick in the match while there were another five other goals scorers. Kenta scored his hat-trick in the match with goals in the eighth, ninth and 18th minutes. It was Hirotaka Zendana who started the rout in the first minute. Once they scored the first goal it was downhill all the way for the Japanese as they run rings around the Sri Lanka defence. Then in quick succession Manabu Yamashita (10th), Koji Yamasaki (12th) and Genki Mitani (13th) scored to give the Japanese a healthy lead.
Koji scored his second goal in the 27th minute followed by Kazuma Murata with a brace in the 31and 33rd minutes. The onslaught continued with Yoshiki Kirishita adding the 10th goal in the 51st minute off another penalty corner. Murata completed his hat-trick in the 53rd minute.
Japan play Indonesia in their next match on Wednesday.