The best young Asian men’s hockey teams will compete in the Men’s Junior Asia Cup Salalah 2023, with three spots up for grabs in the upcoming FIH Junior Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023, to be played in Salalah, Oman.
The ten participating teams have been split into two pools, with Pool A comprising Chinese Taipei, India, Japan, Pakistan, and Thailand. In Pool B hosts Oman will be joined by Bangladesh, Korea, Malaysia and Uzbekistan.
Each team in the pool stage will play the other four teams in their pool once. The top two teams in both pools will qualify for the semi-finals, while the teams in third and fourth positions will compete for the 5-8 place classification. The teams finishing in the fifth place in both pools will go head-to-head to avoid finishing in the tenth place.
The losing semi-finalists will play in the bronze medal match, with the two finalists and the bronze medalists qualifying for the FIH Junior Hockey World Cup 2023. Malaysia, as hosts, have already qualified for the World Cup, so if Malaysia enter the semifinals of the Junior Asia Cup, all the other three teams making it to the semi-finals will enter the World Cup as well.
JAPAN 7 VS THAILAND 1 (POOL A)
The first match of this new edition of the Men’s Junior Asia Cup was played at the Sultan Qaboos Youth Complex for Culture and Entertainment, where one of the teams with more presences (Japan) would face Thailand, which would be making its second appearance in this tournament.
The team coached by MIZAWA Takayasu came to this tournament with a lot of experience behind them, so they wanted to start this first match with the team in turbo mode. That is why after 8 minutes of play SAEKI Ikumi put the 1-0 for the team in red. Even though the white team tried to generate a preventive block to stop the red machine, this could not be possible as Japan won with 6 more goals, scored by TANAKA Tsubasa x3, YASUDA Kumpei x 2 and SAEKI Kodai with 1 goal.
All the goals came from team plays without the need for penalty corners, which makes this group of youngsters who go for everything even bigger.
KIM Jung Chul’s team tried to give their best performance, but they were outplayed by the great Japanese team. PHUMEE Kritsana managed to score in the 44th minute with a goal from a pantly corner to finally end the match 7-1.
Japan will now face the mighty India in their next match to start defining their place in Pool A, while Thailand will go for their first win against Pakistan.
The best player of the match was the scorer TANAKA Tsubasa.
PAKISTAN 15 VS CHINESE TAIPEI 1 (POOL A)
The second match of the day in Pool A was between Pakistan who won this tournament 3 times in the past and is another of the national teams with more participation in this tournament who would face Chinese Taipei who is participating for the third time in this Junior tournament.
The supremacy of the Pakistani team was evident from the 2nd minute of the game where the team led by OLTMANS Roelant scored their first goal converted by KHAN Mohammad.
The boys in green wanted to make their first appearance and show what they have to prove in a tournament like this with their junior players and scored 14 more goals: AHMAD Arbaz x2, KHAN Mohammad x2, AKRAM Bilal, QAYYUM Abdul,Abdul REHMAN,ALI Basharat,SHAHID Abdul x3,HAYAT Zikriya,LIAQAT Arshad and MURTAZA Muhammad.
The men in white managed to pull one back with a goal in the 49th minute by LIN Te-Ju. The team led by LIAO Hsing-Chou did not achieve the defensive block they needed, but this game will surely help them to recover in their next match.
The match ended 15-1 with victory for Pakistan, who will be looking for their second win against Thailand in the next match. Chinese Taipei will be looking to bounce back from today’s match against India in their next Pool A match.
The best player of the match was KHAN Mohammad who managed to contribute to his team’s victory with two goals.
MALAYSIA 8 VS UZBEKISTAN 1 (POOL B)
In POOL B, the first match of the tournament was between Malaysia and Uzbekistan. The Malaysian team is participating for the ninth time in the tournament, having won it once in 2012. On the other hand, the Uzbekistan team last participated in 2000 and will participate for the second time in their history in 2023.
Both teams had a lot of enthusiasm and energy to give their best in their opening match, but the team in yellow managed to channel their opponent from the seventh minute of the match where TANGARAJA Perabu put the 1-0 for his team. Two minutes later, the same player number 6 made it 2-0 to continue encouraging his team to go for more. On their side, the blue team tried to take advantage of the counter shots and block the center of the field to try not to have leaks in their circle, but the team led by RAHIM Amin stepped on the accelerator and scored 6 more goals by LIAU Alfarico, again TANGARAJA Perabu, Shahmie Irfan Suhaimi, CHE Nur Aqilrullah, Mughni Kamal and Adam Ashraf.
ISMAILOV Enver’s team could not stop the great team of Malaysia but was able to convert 1 goal in the 55th minute by KAKHRAMONOV Shavkatjon to finish the match 8-1.
Malaysia will play their next match against Bangladesh, while Uzbekistan will go for their victory against Korea.
The best player of the match was LIAU Alfarico who gave the third goal to his team in this match.
OMAN 0 VS BANGLADESH 2 (POOL B)
The second match of Pool B and last of the first day of competition in this Men’s Junior Asia Cup Salalah 2023 was played between Oman and Bangladesh. Oman makes its fourth appearance in this tournament, being the host of this ninth edition of the Junior Asia Cup, while Bangladesh makes its seventh appearance trying to overcome the positions of its last appearances and leave Bangladesh at the top with its junior team.
The match was very tough from a physical point of view as both teams were well positioned on the field to stop their opponents. However, Bangladesh knew how to activate their offensive side to attack the home side in front of their home crowd and was able to score their first goal in the 22nd minute for ALI Md.
With the 1-0 lead Oman did not want to let go their chance and although they tried many shots at goal there was no luck for AL RAISI Khalid’s team. Two minutes after the first goal HOSSAIN Md made it 2-0 to give his national team the victory.
Although Oman tried to come back, Bangladesh had more chances to score but they were blocked by AL FARSI Ahmad in a very good way.
The home side will be hoping to improve their position in the table against Korea, while Bangladesh will be looking to consolidate their position in Pool B against Malaysia.