Bangladesh concluded their Hero Asia Cup 2017 campaign at their desired sixth place after conceding a 4-0 defeat against Japan in the 5th-place deciding match at a water-impacted Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium Friday.
It was the first time Bangladesh played in the 5th-place deciding game in Asia Cup Hockey since the introduction of the classification round outside the top four in 2003. They finished seventh in the last three editions in 2007, 2009 and 2013. In terms of points, Bangladesh were placed sixth out of nine countries in Malaysia 1999 and in Japan 1994. They also finished sixth when Dhaka last hosted the Asia Cup in 1985.
The game started four hours later than the scheduled time due to persistent rainfall throughout the day, which postponed the 7th-place deciding match between China and Oman. The game was played under rain during the first three quarters.
Bangladesh, who lost to Japan 3-1 in the group stage, struggled to find the rhythm they showed against China in Thursday's dramatic win. Japan controlled the game from the very beginning with Shetul Farhad giving Japan the first penalty corner in the eighth minute but Asim Gope made a fine save.
Rain started to fall heavily from the middle of the first quarter and Shota Yamada put the visitor ahead two minutes into the second quarter from their second PC. Mamunur Rahman Chayan and Gope should have done better to stop Yamada's weak shot.
Japan continued their dominance in the third quarter as well with more ball possession but failed to create clear-cut chances. They earned only one PC but Gope made a decent save.
The visiting side began the final quarter brightly as Kenji Kitazato doubled the lead within a minute with a clever scoop past Gope, following a pass from Kenta Tanaka. Kazuma Murata extended the lead three minutes later exhibiting a fine solo effort to sneak into the right side of the circle. Seren Tanaka completed the rout four minutes later hitting the backboard to make it 4-0.
Bangladesh earned their first and only penalty two minutes before the end of stipulated time but Chayan failed to hit on target sending the ball over the bar.
Arch-rivals India and Pakistan meet each other again Saturday at the same venue.
India and Pakistan will take on each other for the second time in the tournament when the two sides meet in the last match of the Super Four round at 5:30pm while holder South Korea face Malaysia again in the other match at 3pm. These two matches will determine Sunday's two finalists.
India defeated Pakistan comfortably 3-1 in a Pool A encounter on October 15 while Malaysia beat Korea 2-1 in a Pool B match on the previous day.
After each side play two matches in the second round, India are currently leading the table with four points with Malaysia following them closely with a point less. Korea earned two points while Pakistan, who lost to Malaysia in their first match, sit at the bottom with a single point.
If the two or more teams have same number of points after Saturday's matches, the goal difference will then come into consideration. The top two finishers will play in the final battle scheduled to be held Sunday at 5.30pm. The bottom two sides will play in the third-place deciding match on the same day.
What They Said
Russel Mahmud Jimmy, Bangladesh captain
We were tired. After (Thursday’s) game in the night, we got little time to prepare ourselves for the game. The first half was good but rain started affecting the game soon. The last quarter was poor and we lost the game there. Our main target was to finish among the top six teams which we managed to achieve for the first time since 1999. Now we don't have to play in the Asia Cup qualifiers for the next edition. It is very positive for us.
Siegfried Aikman, Japan coach
We wanted to finish fifth and achieved it. We did the homework attentively and were very focused on this game after Bangladesh defeated China. We are very happy. We denied them the opportunities by creating continuous pressure from the very beginning. Bangladesh are not used to handle such pressure due to lack of experience.
Bangladesh in Asia Cup
Karachi 1982 - 5th out of 7
Dhaka 1985 - 6th out of 10
Delhi 1989 - 7th out of 7
Hiroshima 1994 - 6th out of 9
Kuala Lumpur 1999 - 6th out of 9
Kuala Lumpur 2003 - 8th out of 8
Chennai 2007 - 7th out of 11
Kuantan 2009 - 7th out of 7
Ipoh 2013 - 7th out of 8
Dhaka 2017 - 6th out of 8
Bangladesh 0 4 Japan
(Yamada 17, Kitazato 46, Murata 49, Tanaka 53)
India v Pakistan, 5:30pm
South Korea v Malaysia, 3pm