Japan loss leaves hosts content with 6th place

Bangladesh had to remain content with a sixth-place finish in the 10th Men’s Asia Cup Hockey after suffering a 0-4 defeat against Japan in the fifth-position deciding match at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium on Friday. Bangladesh had to play the match in less than 24-hour after their fifth-sixth position play-off match against China, where the home side registered a dramatic 4-3 win in the penalty shootout.
The Japan match was delayed for 40 minutes due to waterlogging at the synthetic turf following a heavy downpour throughout the day.
The home side, however, kept their net intact in the first quarter despite huge pressure from their Japanese counterparts, who played pressing hockey from the beginning to till the final whistle.
Bangladesh conceded a 1-3 defeat against the same opponents in the group stage and looked a tired after Thursday night’s high octane game against China.
Japan took the lead in the second minute of the second quarter when Yamada Shota converted a penalty corner.
After a barren third quarter, Japan put Bangladesh out from the game by adding three more goals in the last quarter.
Kitazato Kenji doubled the lead in the 46th minute when the striker flicked home from a goalmouth melee following a push from Tanaka Kenta.
Murata Kazuma made it 3-0 for Japan when he entered from the right flank to beat Bangladesh goalkeeper Abu Sayeed Nippon to find the back of the net.
Tanaka Seren sealed the victory and fifth position for Japan with a field goal in the 53rd minute.
Bangladesh captain Russell Mahmud Jimmy said they failed to play their natural game due to fatigue.
‘We were actually bit tired in this match because we had to play the game with less than 24 hours after the China match,’ Jimmy said.
‘It could have been better for us if we could get at least a one-day rest to recover.’
Jimmy, however, expressed his satisfaction after finishing sixth.
‘Our main focus was to finish in the sixth position and we achieved that for the first time after 1990,’ he said.
‘It also confirmed our place in next edition of Asia Cup and next year’s Asian Games directly, which was satisfying.’
Japan coach Aikman Siegfried was satisfied with the fifth-place finish.
‘We wanted to finish at fifth and we achieved it,’ he said.
‘We actually denied their opportunities by creating continuous pressure and Bangladesh are not used to handle such pressure due to lack of playing experience.’

-With New Age input

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