Jakarta, 26th May 2022: Pakistan suffered a heart-break loss to Asian Games champions Japan who came up with excellent defence to win 3-2 in a crucial pool A match here in the Hero Asia Cup being held at the sprawling GBK Sports Arena on Thursday.
A win against Japan or even a draw would have put Pakistan in the Super 4s but the team has to now depend on the result of India Vs Indonesia match, where the defending champions India need to win by a difference of 15 goals to edge past Pakistan into the Super 4s.
“It’s disappointing that we need to wait for India’s match to learn about our fate of making the Super 4s,” expressed an evidently disappointed Pakistan Skipper Umar Bhutta. However, he credited his team’s resilience and said, “The boys really gave all their heart. We really wanted to make it to the Super 4s but the two goals that were disallowed really hurt our chances and we also ended up getting many cards that didn’t help our chances,” Bhutta added.
While it was Japan who made a positive start to their match with two back-to-back goals in the 14th and 15th minute through Ryoma Ooka and Ikumi Saeki, Pakistan shook off the early nerves to score in the 23rd minute to reduce the lead to 1-2. Though Japan replied with a penalty corner goal by Takuma Niwa in the 27th minute to push Japan’s lead to 3-1, Pakistan played on-par to earn a PC in the 30th minute which was well converted by Mubashar Ali in the 30th minute springing back hopes in the Pakistani dugout.
But it was really in the third and four quarter that things got intense with Pakistan pushing for space in the striking circle and making several attempts on goal. One such effort even worked when Pakistani striker Junaid Manzoor scored a goal in the 40th minute, but unfortunately for them, the goal was disallowed as there were 12 players on the pitch at the time of goal.
This even resulted in the Pakistani Captain getting a yellow card that forced him to sit out of the match for the next ten minutes.
Pakistan’s misery didn’t end there, with time ticking away, their Captain Bhutta equalized the score in the final quarter but the goal was disallowed basis a technical foul after Japan took a video referral. This really dented Pakistan’s hopes of a win, even though they tried to score till the dying minutes of the match, the Japanese goalkeeper Yoshikawa Takashi was sublime in his efforts to defend the scoreline for Japan and clinch a winner.
Hero Man of the Match award was presented to Yoshikawa Takashi.
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