Pakistan, Japan to lock horns in Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Cup final on Saturday
IPOH: In the fifth match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Cup 2024 played on Friday in Malaysia’s Ipoh city, Pakistan continued winning streak and remained unbeaten throughout the tournament.

 After winning their respective matches on Wednesday, Pakistan and Japan already qualified for the final match, which will take place at 5:30pm (PKT) on Saturday at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

The 18-member squad led by senior player Ammad Shakeel with Abu Bakr as the vice-captain secured a tie in their match against New Zealand in the 30th Azlan Shah Hockey Cup.

Japan lead the points table with 13 points while Pakistan rank second with 11 points. New Zealand hold the third position with seven points while Malaysia follow them with a point less.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) said the match ended in a draw, with both teams securing one point each. 

The PHF said that both Pakistan and New Zealand had not scored by half-time. New Zealand then succeeded in scoring a field goal in the 35th minute of the game.

However, Abu Bakr scored a goal for Pakistan in the 43rd minute while playing at the penalty corner.

Pakistan had defeated Canada 5-4 while Japan beat hosts Malaysia 2-1. Pakistan have won their three matches against Malaysia, South Korea and Canada while the ones against Japan and New Zealand ended in a draw. Meanwhile, after their 3-1 victory against Canada today, Japan have four wins plus a draw.

Malaysia were the defending champions of this year’s edition while Pakistan won the Azlan Shah Cup title thrice — in 1999, 2000 and 2003 — and came third in the last edition which was also held in Ipoh in 2022.