Japan, Korea hold surprise final




The Asian Champions Trophy final is set to be played without Pakistan and India for the first time in tournament history as Japan and South Korea beat last year’s co-champions in the semi -final at the Maulana Bhasani hockey stadium yesterday.

Japan produced the biggest upset of the tournament yesterday, handing India an outright 5-3 defeat. It was India’s first loss to Japan in eight years following a 2-1 loss at the 2013 Asian Champions Trophy. Meanwhile, South Korea took a nerve-racking 6 to 5th against Pakistan in the first semi-final, thus confirming their first place for the final of the Asian Champions Trophy. It was also South Korea’s first victory over Pakistan in eight years, following a 2-1 victory in the 2013 Asian Cup semifinals.

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India and Pakistan have contested the Asian Champions Trophy final four times in the previous five editions. Pakistan and Japan contested once in the third edition in 2013, with Pakistan winning 3-1.




In the spotlight, Japan – who suffered a 6-0 defeat to India in the group stage – seemed determined to turn things around and took a 2-0 lead in the opening two minutes against India , third, which has remained in the shadows. and fell behind 5-1 at one point before paying off two goals in the last quarter.

Graham Reid’s charges were well below their usual levels and failed to keep pace with Japan, obediently surrendering to the 15th-ranked nation in the world.

In the first game of the day, South Korean Jonghyun Jang not only scored the winning goal, but also managed a hat-trick to take his team to the final.

Similar to the group stage match which ended in a 3-3 draw, Pakistan and Korea battled neck and neck throughout the 60-minute game before Korea took first place. for the first time.

Pakistan took the lead in the third minute, but their lead collapsed after conceding two consecutive penalty strokes, converted by Jonghyun, in the first quarter.

Losing their heads, Pakistan, 17th, could not break through Korea, 16th, until the last minute.

They equalized the gap four times, but continued to fight Jonghyun, who scored the game-winning goal with four minutes remaining, leaving Pakistan to battle for third with their Indian rivals.

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