It was a fast, furious and exciting game, but Korea prevailed the challenges to narrowly defeat Japan and stay unbeaten after two matches in 29th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2022 International Men’s hockey tournament at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, Ipoh, this evening.
It was a traditional rivalry match between the two and there were no quarters given as the two battled end to end.
In the end it was Korea’s penalty goal in the 45rd minute by Jeon Byungjin which won the match.
Korea indeed have lived up to their pre-tournament bold prediction to defend the title they won in 2019.
Korea are ompeting for the 21st time and having won thrice (1996,2010, 2019), runners up four times (1999,2000,2001,2005) and third four times (1998,2004,2013 and 2014).
id that he has selected 18 players from a pool 45 players and insisted that 80% of the team are his first choice players.
“I have a few young players in the team too and thus it is a blend of experience and youth. I had three senior players who are injured but will be available for the Nations Cup.”
Shin said this tournament also serves as a preparation for their World Cup campaign in India in January.
“We are also competing in the Nations Cup in South Africa later this month and I may introduce another two young players as I will bring a squad of 20 players.
“Our ultimate goal is to qualify for the Paris Olympics and the Hangzhou Asian Games is utmost important where we have to win or win a place through the qualifiers for the Olympics in January 2024.”
JAPAN (AKIRA TAKAHASHI – COACH)
“A draw would have been a fairer result. We defended well but could have been better in attack to get the goals.
Matches against Korea has always been close and tough and today was no different. We tried our best, but the goal we conceded cost us the game.
All is not lost and we hope to come back stronger after the day’s rest tomorrow for our match against Pakistan on Thursday.”
KOREA (SHIN SEOK KYO – COACH)
“The players were tired after our match against Malaysia (won 3-0) and playing Japan today who are fast is not easy.
But the players gave their best and winning the match although by just a goal, I cannot complain. It is always good to win matches.
I hope the one day rest will see my players recover from their tiredness.
We play Egypt on Friday and with their win over South Africa (3-0) they will indeed be boosted with confidence. In any case, I see no see easy matches in this tournament.”