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Japan upset Pakistan at Asia Cup
02 Sep 2007 11:38

It rained in goals and 60 of them came on the board in the BSNL-Asia Cup on Saturday. But the day 2 will be remembered for the remarkable 3-1 victory that Japan gained over the former World Champion and the three time winner of the Asia Cup, Pakistan. A sort of history was made by this outcome.

By S. Thyagarajan

Known for their fighting spirit and systematic approach, the Japanese more than matched their rival in speed, stamina to script a new page in their hockey history. The start for Japan was splendid in pool A, where it may to fight with Malaysia, which downed Hong Kong 13-1, for a semi-final berth. Korea outclassed Thailand by 16 goals to nil, scoring 28 goals in all in two matches.

The biggest win for the day came from India, which beat Sri Lanka by 20 goals to nil after leading 10-0 at halftime. The score line equalled the record for the championship that is shared by Pakistan and Malaysia who beat Thailand in 1993 at Hiroshima. Prabhjot Singh was the top scorer for India with five individual goals.

The seventh Asia Cup, which witnessed as many as 103 goals from two days, is interestingly poised, triggering speculation on spotting the semi-finalists. The competition resumes Monday after a day's rest on Sunday.

Malaysia leads the table in Pool A after two victories. Pakistan suffered a reverse against Japan. All the three teams however are in contention for a place for the semi-final.

Malaysia has another rest day on Monday, and takes on the in-form Japan on Tuesday and Paksitan the next day. These two matches will determine the placing for Malaysia in the Pool. It must be noted here Malaysia and Japan have not won a medal in the competition so far.

Korea and India share the top spot with six points each in Pool B. Both come to grips on Monday. This outcome will signal the trend in the Pool even as China, which lost to India on the opening day, is making a valiant effort to be back in contention. The Korea-China match on 5 September is expected to clinch the issue.

Pool A: Japan – Pakistan 3-1; Malaysia – Hong Kong 13-1; Chia – Bangladesh 6-0.

Ranking: 1. Malaysia 2-6 (21-1), 2. Pakistan 2-3 (7-4), 3. Japan 1-3 (3-1), 4.- Singapore 1-0 (0-8), 5. Hong Kong 2-0 (2-19)

Pool B: Korea – Thailand 16-0; India – Sri Lanka 20-0.

Ranking: 1. Korea 2-6 (28-2), 2. India 2-6 (21-0), 3. Bangladesh 2-3 (13-6), 4. China 23 (6-1), 5. Sri Lanka 2-0 (0-29), 5. Thailand 2-0 (0-29).

Monday’s matches: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka (07:30); China v Thailand (09:30); Japan v Hong Kong (15:00); Pakistan v Singapore (17:00); India v Korea (19:00)

Please click here for direct access to the special Men's Asia Cup website.

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