Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Final: Japan's goalkeepers were coached by a former Pakistan player

Japan won the penalty shootout after the match ended 2-2 in normal time

By Web Desk
May 11, 2024
Japan's goalkeepers on a video call with former Pakistani player Salman Akbar. — Screengrab/X

Japan’s goalkeeper Takumi Kitagawa and Takashi Yoshikawa were coached by former Pakistani player and legend, Salman Akbar, during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup which they won by beating Pakistan in the final.

Akbar represented Pakistan in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. He also won a gold medal in the 2010 Asian Games. He has been coaching teams ever since his retirement and his most recent assignment was to coach the Japanese goalkeepers.

Japan emerged winners after the dramatic penalty shootout and both of their keepers were on a video call with Salman Akbar.

Remember, the final had to be decided on a shootout after both teams scored two goals apiece at the end of full time.

Japan took the lead in the shootout courtesy of Ryoma Ooka while his teammates continued the momentum, scoring the other three.

Meanwhile, Pakistan missed the first two whereas Ammad Butt netted the ball in the third stroke.

Earlier, Japan staged a comeback to level the score 2-2 after Pakistan scored two goals in the third quarter. Kazumasa Matsumoto produced a second goal in the 47th minute.

In the third quarter, Pakistan came from behind as Ajaz Ahmed netted the goal in the 34th minute while Abdul Rehman scored in the 37th minute.

Seren Tanaka scored the first goal for Japan at the 12th-minute mark and gained a lead.

Remember, Pakistan qualified for the final for the first time in 13 years.

The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2024 saw the conclusion of round matches on Friday with Japan and Pakistan finishing as the top two teams on the points table as both remained unbeaten throughout the round-robin matches.

Japan remained on the top with 13 points as they won four matches and drew only one. While Pakistan stayed on the second position with 11 points.