10 Oct 2018

Japan held by New Zealand Featured

New Zealand and Japan played to a 2-2 draw in their fourth Sultan of Johor Cup match at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium.

 

The result has now thrown open the fight for the second berth to the final with three teams in the fray.

Britain has seven points and a win against India will take them through. 

Japan also has seven points and they also need a win against Malaysia. 

But they have an inferior goal difference to Britain and will need a big win against the host.

Australia, on the other hand, will need to win big against the Kiwis and hope for the other two teams to falter in their last match.

New Zealand will now play for fifth place against Malaysia on Saturday.

The match was important for Japan, as a win would have put them in front for a final berth.

New Zealand went into the match with one point while Japan had six.  Both teams also have a match in hand. 

And the final berth will go down the wire on Friday with Japan, Britain and Australia in the mix. The Aussies have four points and play New Zealand last.

India, who have already qualified for the final, will play Britain while Japan will meet Malaysia in the other match.

Thus, it is too close to call and every match on Friday will be a crunch match.

In the game yesterday, the Kiwis took the lead in the fourth minute off a penalty corner set-piece move.

But in the second quarter, the Japanese struck twice to take the lead.

First Shoji Iseki scored with a direct drag flick from the penalty corner in the 25th minute. 

Then Kosei Kawabe added the second in the 28th minute off a field attempt.

Then it was a race between the two teams to get the goals.

The Kiwis continued to attack and had seven penalty corners’ in the three quarters. 

The seventh attempt in the 42nd minute bore fruit with Andrews scoring with a direct flick to put New Zealand on level terms.

Japanese coach Hiroki Sakamoto said they will try and get a good result in their last match to make the final.

“It is not in our hand as the Britain side could win and put the whole thing out of our hand. It was important we beat New Zealand, but they played to stop us. But their early goal threw us off balance and that made us fight back harder. Overall, we could have done better,” he said.

Read 172 times Last modified on Wednesday, 10 October 2018 14:51
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