Canada chalked up their second win in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with a 2-1 victory over Japan at the Azlan Shah Stadium.
The win has put the Canadians in reach of a final berth as they have six points from three matches. Their remaining matches are against India and Malaysia who are also in the mix for a final berth.
For Japan the defeat was a bitter blow as they controlled much of the play and had plenty of goal scoring chances.
Japan coach Siegfried Aikman was not happy after the numerous misses by the team.
“We practically owned the match. They had two good chances and scored. Hockey is not all about attacking….but defending as well. You cannot allow such mistakes in defense. I think we were the better team and I believe that we should have won this match,” he said.
It was a fast-paced match and both teams moved the ball around quite well.
The Japanese used their speed to good advantage in the last quarter, but they just could get the ball into the net.
Balraj Panesar scored the first goal for the Canadians in the 10th minute off a field attempt.
But Japan who had been quite ferocious in their attacks equalised a minute later with Ryosei Kato striking from close range.
The second quarter was a story of missed chances especially for the Japanese who used their speed to good use.
In the 41st minute, the Canadians capitalised on a rare defensive slip by the Japanese and scored a field goal through James Kirkpatrick.
That goal turned out to be the match winner as Canada collected their second full points to keep in the race for a final berth.
Canada coach Paul Bundy was pleased with the tempo of the match.
“We are basically here for this kind of matches. The tempo was high, and we had a good run against a strong team. It shows that the Asian team has improved, and their play is also more organised.
“We took our chances well and the goalkeeper Antoni Kindler was also in good form. Overall it is a good position to be in. but we still have tough matches ahead and we need to focus on that for now,” he added.
Canada plays India next while the Japanese have Poland.