Japan fightback to take fifth placing

Japan fightback to take fifth placing

Asian champions Japan overcame a one-goal deficit to defeat Poland 6-1 and clinch fifth place in the 2019 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

It was Poland who started off strongly with a goal in the 31st minute through Mikolaj Gumny.

The Poland side making their debut in the tournament ended the tournament without a win.

But for Poland coach Karol Sniezek the tournament was an eye-opener and provided a lot of positives in their preparations for the World Series final in India in June.

“It is a little disappointing to lose the match after taking the lead. But credit to Japan for their fightback and taking their chances in the fourth quarter.

“I am happy with the players’ performance although we were only good in patches. But it is a learning curve and we have to review the data to see what needs to be done,” he said.

Poland held sway in the early part of the game

But they crumbled in the last quarter. They let in six goals in a space of 11 minutes.

Kentaro Fukuda scored the opening goal for Japan in the 47th minute and then added a second in the 54th minute.

Hirotaka Wakuri also scored a brace in the 51st and 57th minute while Ryosei Kato and Suguru Hoshi added the other goals in the 49th and 58th minutes respectively.

The match was played under humid conditions and affected both teams.

Japan coach Siegfried Aikman was happy to have beaten Poland but displeased as they only managed to score in the last quarter.

“For 45 minutes we could not score and then boom ..six goals in the last quarter. That is not good although we won by a big margin.

“We need to be more focussed. It is really pleasing for the fightback. The players really wanted to win and that is always a good sign. The tournament has thrown up a lot of options for us to look at and we have to prepare accordingly,” he said.

The next stop for both these teams are the World series final in the teams.