Egypt, Japan’s second match at the World Championship was close once again, this time against a familiar Qatar team. Almost exactly one year ago, the two sides met at the 2020 AHF Men’s Asian Championship in a game that looked eerily similar. Japan led at half-time by one goal but eventually lost.
Jin Watanabe gave himself a nice present for his birthday today scoring the first goal of the match. Neither Qatar nor Japan were able to pull away early as the lead changed hands five times in the first half.
The reigning champions of Asia, Qatar, began flawless in attack, recoding a 100 shot percentage in the first 18 minutes of the game. Player of the Match Frankis Marzo was unstoppable, scoring seven of his eleven goals in the first 30 minutes. He also added five assists. The goalkeepers struggled in the first 30 minutes but that would change in the second half.
Marzo brought the score level at 16:16 right after break as a part of a five-goal Qatar run in the first five minutes. But, Japan responded with a tactical change, marking top scorer Marzo and in doing so halted the Qatar attack for eight minutes.
At 26:26 with eight minutes left, it was still anybody’s game. However, it was Mohamed Abidi’s time to shine between the posts as he saved three shots in a row. His partner Saric then saved a crucial penalty shot in the last minute, giving Qatar a 31:29 victory.
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee