LAHORE - Pakistan hockey team once again failed to end its losing spree in the four-nation International Festival of Hockey after facing another 1-3 defeat at the hands of minnows Japan on Thursday.

According to Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) spokesman, the speedy Japanese side dominated the proceedings throughout the game, easily defeating the green shirts 3-1. Japan opened the scoring with a field goal courtesy Kenta Tanaka in the 14th minute. Pakistan were unable to answer with a goal, as Japan were able to maintain the lead till the end of the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Tanaka once again found the net in the 46th minute to double his team’s lead. Genki Mitani then delivered the killer blow with a goal in the 50th minute to push Japan 3-0 up. Pakistan were able to salvage some respect when Mohammad Atiq scored for them in the last minute of the match as the match ended 3-1, with Greenshirts reeling at the bottom of the league table with two consecutive defeats in their first two matches.

Prior to today’s match, Pakistan were ripped apart by the hosts Australia in their first match of the International Festival of Hockey at Melbourne's State Netball Hockey Centre. The record four-time World Champions' 1-9 defeat is their worst ever in international hockey.

“This is not good,” captain M Irfan said. “We lost to a team that is ranked lower than us. We need to work a lot on some aspects of our game to turn things around.” He said the team needs to buckle up. “This performance is not satisfactory and we need to buckle up for the next match. We will try to put up a better performance in the next match, but we don’t have much time to gather ourselves since we are playing back-to-back matches,” he added. Pakistan now play New Zealand on Friday in their last league match of the tournament.

Kookaburras crush Kiwis 4-0: The Kookaburras have continued their recent strong form against New Zealand with a 4-0 win over the Kiwis in the opening game of the International Festival of Hockey in Bendigo on Sunday.

Jeremy Hayward scored a penalty corner double, on a day when Australia had three debutants in Corey Weyer, Jake Harvie and Tim Howard. Josh Pollard opened the scoring in the first quarter, while Kiran Arunasalam added the third as Australia scored a goal in each of the four quarters. New Zealand fought hard but goalkeeper Tristan Clemons was outstanding in keeping them at bay, in front of a healthy crowd in Bendigo.

Clemons said: “It’s been great. We came out here last year and we were really happy with the support we got. “We love the support we get in the regional centres so hopefully they come out tomorrow and support us again.”

The result is a boost for the Kookaburras, who meet the Black Sticks again on Monday in Bendigo, before meeting Japan, Pakistan and NZ again in Melbourne later in the week. Victorian Pollard opened the scoring after eight minutes with a cool finish after a clever pass from Tom Wickham. Australia had two close calls late in the first quarter with efforts from Jake Whetton and Arunasalam both saved by New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce.

Black Sticks skipper Arun Panchia forced a low save from the outstanding Clemons early in the second quarter, before Australia converted their first penalty corner of the game with Hayward scoring in trademark fashion. Clemons was called into action several times in the third quarter, making great saves to deny Dane Lett and Marcus Child from penalty corners.

Arunasalam added Australia’s third right on the final change, with a tidy reverse stick finish after breaking into the shooting circle. Hayward added number four barely a minute into the final term from a penalty corner, although he was denied his hat-trick in circumstances shortly after. Clemons ensured Australia kept a clean sheet with good late saves from Arun Panchia and Nick Ross.