It was Pakistan’s first win over Japan in the last five matches, after two defeats and two draws and should serve as a morale booster for the final on Tuesday, especially after the Green Shirts had played a drawn game to Oman 4-4 in the earlier match of the event.
The first half was scoreless. Mubashar Ali broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute when he converted a penalty corner. Within two minutes, Japan equalised through Kenta Tanaka, also of a penalty corner. Both sides fought hard to take the lead.
In the 48th minute, Pakistan again took the lead through their experienced striker Umar Bhutta and it remained 2-1 when the match ended.
Pakistan have completed their four matches of the double-league phase, earning eight points.
Japan (four points) and Oman (one point) will play the last match of the league on Monday.
Only a big win over Japan would enable hosts Oman to qualify for the final against Pakistan, as Japan have a goal difference of +1 while Oman’s goal difference is -6.