FIH Series Finals 2019: Asian Games champions Japan secure third spot with 4-2 victory over USA

Bhubaneswar: Asian Games champions Japan defeated USA 4-2 in a hard-fought match to finish third in the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

 FIH Series Finals 2019: Asian Games champions Japan secure third spot with 4-2 victory over USA

Japan celebrate after scoring against USA in the third-place playoff. AFP

World No 18 Japan scored through Kazuma Murata (11th), Yoshiki Krishita (25th), Kenta Tanaka (60th and 60th) to emerge winners.

World No 25 USA gave a good account of themselves with Aki Kaeppler converting two penalty corners to give Japan a tough fight.

It was a hard-fought encounter as there was hardly anything to differentiate between the two sides in terms of ball possession.

While Japan enjoyed 69.50 percent of ball possession, the Americans were closely behind at 68.75 percent.

However, in terms of experience it turned out to be a great outing for the Americans as they outplayed higher-ranked teams to finish on top of their pool.

Japan, meanwhile, approached the tournament as a preparation for next year's Tokyo Olympics after having qualified for the quadrennial event as continental champions as well as hosts.

The FIH Series Finals offer two spots in the final round of Olympic qualifiers to be held later this year.

Hosts India and South Africa have already sealed the two spots by entering the final, which the Indian team won by a 5-1 margin.

Updated Date: Jun 15, 2019 21:21:24 IST