Muscat: Overcoming a stiff challenge, Pakistan edged a battling Japan for a 2-1 victory in the ongoing Oman Triangular Series hockey tournament at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Sunday.
While the result sealed Pakistan’s entry into Tuesday’s final, it also opened the door for Oman to reach the summit clash, provided the hosts manage to defeat Japan with a huge margin in the final round robin match on Monday.
Pakistan completed their double round robin league engagements with eight points after two victories and two draws.
Though Oman have just one point to show against Japan’s four, the hosts can advance to the final if they defeat the latter with a five-goal margin.
Against Japan on Sunday, Pakistan failed to open their account in the first two quarters. However, Ali Mubashar converted a 32nd minute penalty corner to put Pakistan ahead.
Japan though found the equaliser two minutes later when Kenta Tanaka scored off a short corner.
At one time it looked like the match was heading for a draw. But Umar Bhutta scored a fine field goal in the 48th minute to the relief of not just his own team but also Oman and their Pakistani coach Tahir Zaman.
The Oman Hockey Association (OHA) is organising the three-team invitational tournament to help the Sultanate’s squad in their preparations for the forthcoming Asian Games Hockey Qualifier.
Oman are scheduled to host Asian Games Hockey Qualifier from March 2 to 10.