Japan finished seventh ahead of Poland.
Japan finished seventh ahead of Poland.
(Photo: FIH)

Japan defeated Poland 3-2 in the 7th place playoff match at the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. Poland find themselves at the bottom of the table, the same position they reached in Quilmes, Argentina two years ago.

The Samurais put early pressure on the Polish defence with goalkeeper Lukasz Domachowski spoiling each attempt. Poland had more ball possession towards the end of the first quarter but couldn’t score either. Then, Toshiro Tachibana (18’) eventually opened the scoring with a tip in goal. 

Poland equalised 10 minutes later when Pawel Bratkowski (28’) converted the first penalty corner in this match. However, the Samurais struck back immediately thanks to Tachibana (29’) who added his second goal today.

Poland failed to equalise just before halftime when a penalty stroke from Krystian Makowski (34’) went wide off target. The stroke had been awarded after the ball touched Manabu Yamashita’s body on the goal-line.

The second half saw Japan extending their lead to 3-1 when Shinji Kawauchi (43’) deflected a shot into the net. Poland pulled one back thanks to Michal Raciniewski (50’) scoring from open play. However, the Polish team forced four penalty corners within the last 10 minutes but could not capitalize on them as Bratkowski’s shots were always blocked.