Hockeyroos go down to Japan in Four Nations Final
17 September 2018
HOCKEY: After winning all three group games, the Hockeyroos have suffered defeat in the Four Nations Final going down 2-1 to hosts, Japan, who came from behind in Ibaraki on Sunday afternoon.
Stand-in Captain Jane Claxton's 150th game was off to a successful start when Renee Taylor put Australia ahead in the third minute, but the celebrations were to be short-lived with Japan responding before quarter-time through Miyu Suzuki.
Mai Toriyama deflected home from Naho Ichitani’s pass, for what proved to be the match winner despite a frenetic finish from the visitors.
Earlier, Taylor opened the scoring in the third minute with a diving deflection from Claxton’s incisive pass.
Japan responded from a penalty corner when Naho Ichitani’s slider was deflected past goalkeeper Ash Wells by a desperate Toriyama.
The hosts took the lead when Naho Ichitani dispossessed Georgina Morgan, jinked inside the shooting circle and chipped for Toriyama to convert at the far post.
Australia almost levelled right on half-time when Taylor creatively deflected Edwina Bone’s drive into the D.
Morgan also came close in the 30th minute with a drag flick which went marginally wide.
After a series of half-chances for the Hockeyroos, Japan almost got a third when a diving Akiho Imao was denied by Wells in the third quarter.
Chasing an equaliser in the last 15, Bone again caused chaos inside the D with a driven cross, but Japan goalkeeper Akio Tanaka pushed it away, before Grace Stewart flashed a 58th minute shot wide in the final real chance.
The result ended Australia's campaign on a disappointing note after winning all three round robin matches.
Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said,
"I thought we got into it towards the end of the first half. It shows how important penalty corners are."
Australia are next in action in the Champions Trophy in China in November.
Japan 2 (Suzuki 10', Toriyama 22')
Australia 1 (Taylor 3')