KARACHI: Pakistan hockey team lost to Japan 3-2 during the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Monday, ending their bid to enter the semi-finals.
Pakistan needed to win their final group stage match against Japan to remain in the semis race, but they fell short.
The Men In Green took the lead in the fifth minute after a goal from Arshad Liaquat, but Japan hit back with two quick goals in the sixth and 17th minute through Tanaka Kaito and Fukuda Kentaro, respectively, to take control of the match.
Fujishima Raiki extended Japan's lead to 3-1 in the 28th minute. However, Pakistan came back into the match soon after with a goal from Arbaz Ahmad.
Despite both teams threatening to score more goals in the final quarter, the match ended 3-2 in Japan's favour.
Pakistan will now face the team in third place in Pool B for the fifth and sixth position on October 6.
Earlier, Pakistan head coach and team manager Saeed Khan apologised to the nation for the embarrassing 10-2 against India on Saturday.
"I apologise to the nation for this huge defeat against India. We have never lost with such a big margin against India," Saeed said.
"I was a team member when we defeated India 7-1 in the Asian Games held in New Delhi in 1982. Though we were expecting defeat against a powerful Indian team ranked 3rd in the world, we never thought of losing with such a huge margin."
According to Saeed, the second major cause of such a poor show against India was the absence of quality support staff with the team.
"We don’t even have the required support staff with us. Other teams have eight to ten-member staff and we hardly have two to three," he said.
"You cannot make your player utilise their talent in the best possible way. These players don’t have any financial security which haunts their progress," he said.
"There should be a set amount for hockey development in Pakistan with every penny to be made accountable. India invests over Rs2 billion on hockey alone each year and we don’t have any set amount for hockey development or for players' financial security."
It must be noted that Pakistan started the Asian Games with three convincing wins against Singapore, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan.