Pakistan’s hopes to enter the super four stage of the Asia Hockey Cup 2022 and qualify for the 2023 Hockey World Cup suffered a big blow as the Men in Green conceded a 2-3 defeat at the hands of Japan in a closely-fought Pool A match at Jakarta’s GBK Sports Complex Hockey Stadium on Thursday.

Japan, who on Tuesday stunned defending champions India 5-2, scored two goals in the first quarter to put Pakistan under pressure.

Pakistan made a strong comeback in the second quarter when in the 23rd minute, Ijaz Ahmed scored a scintillating field goal. But four minutes later Japan scored the third goal. Pakistan found another breakthrough in the 30th minute, thanks to a well-converted penalty corner by Mubashir Ali.

Both teams, however, failed to score any more goals in the last minutes of the game.

Pakistan, who scored a last-minute goal to draw 1-1 against India in their tournament opener, registered a thumping 13-0 win against hosts Indonesia on Tuesday.

Yet, the visitors finished at number three as India claimed the second spot on the points table after thrashing Indonesia 16-0 in their last pool game. That means Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia have sealed the FIH World Cup 2023 berths.

India has qualified as hosts while Pakistan are out of the race. The Asia Cup served as a World Cup qualifier.

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