Ipoh: Japan eked out a hard-fought 3-1 win over debutants Oman to finish fifth, while Bangladesh managed to avoid the wooden spoon by thrashing minnows Chinese Taipei 11-3 in the classification matches of the 9th Asia Cup hockey tournament here Saturday.
By virtue of this win, Japan finished a place higher than their sixth position during last edition of the event in 2009 while Bangladesh secured the seventh spot in the eight-nation tournament. Playing under persistent drizzle and damp conditions, the 16th ranked Japanese had to toil hard for the entire duration of 70 minutes to earn a win against an opponent who are ranked 20 places below them in the FIH rankings.
For Japan, Kei Kawakami (8th, 70th minutes) scored two goals, while Shinji Kawauchi (61st) scored the other. Oman's lone goal came from a penalty stroke converted by Rajab Basim Khatar in the 39th minute. Earlier in the day, Bangladesh registered their first win the tournament by thrashing Chine Taipei 11-3 to finish seventh.
Bangladesh, who were below par in the tournament, scored four goals in the first half but changed gears after the break pumping in as many as seven goals to register a comprehensive win, their first in this edition of the eight-nation event.
For Bangladesh, captain Md Mamunur Rahman Chayan (32nd, 40th, 53rd, 63rd minutes) scored four goals including a hat-trick, while Pushkor Khisa also managed to register a hat-trick against his name scoring in the 26th, 29th and 68th minutes.
The other scorers for Bangladesh were Mohammad Mainul Islam (35th, 38th) and Rashel Mahmud (61st, 65th),who scored a brace each. Debutants Chine Taipei reduced the margin of defeat through field goals from captain Hu Chun-Che (49th), Liu Ching Kun (51st) and Chen Yuan-Fan (69th).
In the bronze medal play-off match, Pakistan will take on hosts Malaysia while India will lock horns with South Korea in the summit clash Sunday.