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Pakistan Loses to Japan in Azlan Shah Hockey Cup Final

In a nail-biting final showdown, Pakistan faced defeat against Japan in the Azlan Shah Hockey Cup on Saturday. The intense game concluded with a 2-2 draw, leading to a decisive penalty shootout where Pakistan faltered, ultimately conceding victory to Japan.

Despite a valiant effort, the Green Shirts couldn’t clinch victory, marking their return to the final after 12 years with an unbeaten streak in the tournament.

The final match, held in Ipoh City, Malaysia, witnessed a thrilling exchange of goals, with Japan initially taking the lead, only for Pakistan to stage a comeback and surge ahead with two goals. However, Japan managed to level the score in the fourth quarter, setting the stage for a tense shootout.

Unfortunately for Pakistan, the shootout saw a rocky start, with the team failing to convert the first two attempts, sealing their fate in the competition.

Despite the disappointment, senior player Ammad Shakeel led the 18-member squad with Abu Bakr serving as the vice-captain. Japan secured the top spot in the points table with 13 points, while Pakistan ranked second with 11 points, reflecting their commendable performance throughout the tournament.

In the preceding pool matches, Pakistan secured victories against Malaysia, Korea, and Canada, showcasing their prowess on the field. The last time Pakistan reached the final of the Azlan Shah Hockey Cup was in 2011 when they faced Australia and suffered a 3-2 defeat.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Attaullah Tarar reiterated the government’s commitment to hockey, announcing a media campaign to highlight the team’s achievements in the Azlan Shah Cup. The Prime Minister pledged support for the development of hockey in Pakistan, expressing hopes for a nationwide broadcast of the final and extending best wishes to the team.

With the nation rallying behind them, Pakistan’s hockey team remains a beacon of hope, with aspirations for future victories and continued success on the international stage.

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