Dhaka (Bangladesh), 20 October, 2017: Japan beat Bangladesh 4-0 to end their campaign at the Hero Asia Cup 2017 in the 5th position. The two teams braved overcast weather conditions to offer an entertaining display of hockey to the home crowd who turned up in large numbers on a holiday here at the Moulana Bhashani Hockey Stadium.
It was goals by Shota Yamada (17′), Kenji Kitazato (46′), Kazuma Murata (49′) and Seren Tanaka (53′) that ensured Japan registered a convincing victory. The first 15 minutes of the match saw Bangladesh put the Japanese forwards on the backfoot as they didn’t quite make life easy for them inside the circle. An alert Bangladeshi goalkeeper Nippon too was bang on the job to deny goal to Japan.
But the Japanese, who displayed better ball possession made a quick conversion through Shota Yamada in the 17th minute. Though the next few minutes, goals were hard to come by for Japan, they stuck to good structure and disciplined over-all performance to keep the pressure on hosts.
While Bangladesh hockey fans hoped for a late surge by their team just like they sprang a surprise in the third and fourth quarter against China yesterday, Japan didn’t let their guard down till the final hooter. Unfortunate for Bangladesh, despite finding some opportunities through PC in the third and fourth quarter they didn’t utilize the opportunity. Japan’s three other goals came in the final quarter as they displayed splendid attack and good skills that saw them through.
Siegfried Aikman was a happy man after the match. He said, “We had a target to finish 5th and we have achieved it. In the World League Semi Final, we could not win any match but here, we won all our matches except the one against India. The match that hurt me the most was a draw against Pakistan. We really should have won that match but overall, I am happy with our performance and will continue to work on improving ahead of the Asian Games 2018 where we want to finish No.4”
Meanwhile, Rushel Mahmud Jimmy said, “Japan is too superior for us and they found our loopholes and created pressure that we could not sustain especially in the fourth quarter when we conceded three goals. We were a contrast to how we played yesterday. We had a plan to grab opportunity but couldn’t convert. However, we are happy to achieve our target to finish 6th.”
Goal of the Game:
Presented By: Mr. MD Masurdur Rahman Shah (Senior Executive Vice President, FSIBL)
Winner: Kazuma Murata of Japan
HERO Man of the Match Award
Presented by: Mr. Yokoyama Hide (Special Advisor to the AHF)
Winner: Kenta Tanaka of Japan