Japan clinched the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2024 title as they defeated Pakistan 4-1 in penalty shootouts in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Saturday.

The score was tied at 2-2 in the stipulated time.

Japan came hard at Pakistan from the word go and took a 1-0 lead when Tanaka Seren scored a field goal in the 12th minute.

Pakistan had 51 percent possession of the ball in the first half but could not convert it.

However, they roared back with two field goals in less than 10 minutes to take a 2-1 lead in the third quarter.

Ajaz Ahmed netted a goal in the 34th minute while Abdul Rehman extended the lead in the 37th minute.

The Greenshirts maintained the lead by the end of the third quarter, but Japan’s Kazumasa Matsumoto produced a second goal in the 47th minute to level the score.

Both sides fought closely in the last quarter but failed to break the deadlock. Pakistan got two penalty corners, in the 57th and 58th minutes of the game, but could not convert. The match went to penalty shootouts.

Earlier, Pakistan maintained their unbeaten run in the tournament as they held number three seed New Zealand to a 1-1 draw in their last group match on Friday.

Both teams battled hard in the first half but failed to score. The deadlock ended in the third quarter when New Zealand’s Luke Holmes scored a field goal in the 35th minute.

Abu Bakr Mahmood, the joint-top scorer for Pakistan along with Sufyan Muhammad Khan with four goals, levelled with a penalty corner eight minutes later.

The 1-1 finish ensured Pakistan entered into the final against Japan with an unbeaten run in the round-robin stage.

Path to final

This is the first time in 13 years that Pakistan played the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. They last played the tournament’s final at the 2011 edition where they suffered a 3-2 defeat against Australia.

The three-time former Sultan Azlan Shah Cup champions registered three wins – against South Korea, Malaysia and Canada – and two draws against Japan and New Zealand.

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