IPOH - Pakistan destined Japan to the bottom of the table with a comfortable 4-1 win in their final group match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh.

The win also ensured Pakistan qualify for the fifth placing playoff tomorrow.

“We are hapy to have picked up our second win and qualify for the playoff. It will be a tougher match but it will also help us gain more experience that this side needs, said Pakistan coach KM Junaid.

He added that his main goal was to ensure that the playing structure the team is being built upon is strengthened. Japan, who had lost all their games in the competition, came back strongly in the fourth quarter but exposed their back in their attempt to search for goals.

Discarding the defensive approach that they had adopted against Australia, Japan played a more open game against the SAF Games champions.

Having not beaten the Pakistani in any of their previous meetings and having lost 0-7 in their last match up at the Asia Cup in 2013, Japan were again not good enough.

Pakistan dominated the possession but did not find the opening goal until the 20th minute. Just as it looked like Pakistan were not taking their chances well inside the D, Ali Shan picked up the ball in close range inside the D slotted the ball past Takashi Yoshikawa.

Within four minutes they had doubled the lead. Abbas Tasawar dazzled his way past the Japanese defense but his attempt from an acute angle hit the post and fell on to the path of Rizwan Ali, Rizwan had the easiest of task to tap the ball into an open goal.

Japan began to tighten their game and played with more cohesion towards the end of the third quarter and began to make some headway inside the Pakistani D.

In the 48th minute Shota Yamada, who had squandered three previous attempt was on target this time with a direct hit that had Imran Butt beaten.

Hardly had the Japanese side settled down when, Pakistan struck back. They quickly swarmed the Japanese goalmouth and in the melee M Arslan Qadir slotted the ball in past Takashi Yoshikawa. Arslan found his second of the match in the 57th minute. Rizwan Ali dribbled his way to top D before making an attempt at goal. Arslan, who was lurking near the Japanese keeper and deflected the ball into goal. Arslan, who is now the tournament top scorer with six goals to his name, was also picked as the Man of the Match

India stormed into final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey with a 6-1 demolition of Malaysia in their crucial final group match. India will play Australia in the final while Malaysia plays New Zealand in the third placing playoff.

India needed just a simple win to make it to the final while Malaysia needed an eight goal margin of victory. But it was the Indians who came out hungrier with their aggressive play from the first whistle.

It was the worst defeat inflicted upon the Malaysians in the tournament. Malaysia had lost 1-5 to Australia in their preliminary round match, the same score line India lost to the Kookaburras in their opening game.

However, the final match between the two Rio Olympic bound teams can be a cracker. Last year Australia easily beat New Zealand in their opening match but lost the final to the Black Sticks.

“The whole team did what I wanted today and the scoreline was pleasing,” said Indian coach Roelant Oltmans. “Íf they played like today, there is a chance for them to win the tournament. Let’s see what we have learnt from our first game against them. The scoreline was harsh as we played a good game. I am hoping for a reasonable outcome tomorrow. Bring the same style of hockey we played against Malaysia and we will surely entertain the crowd,” he added.

Australia ended their preliminary rounds of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup unbeaten.

Having already qualified for the finals earlier, the favourites easily defeated Canada 3-0 in their final group match.

Australia were on top of the Canadians throughout the game. They kept control of the ball possession and hardly gave Canada any decent attempts into their D until the final quarter. In the 16th minute, from second penalty corner, Australia finally found the opening goal.