The USA continued a fine run and held Asian champions Japan 2-2 to qualify for the semi-finals as Pool B toppers in the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament in Bhubaneswar on Monday. The match between world no. 18 Japan and world no. 35 USA witnessed a hard-fought first two quarters but both the teams failed to break the deadlock till half-time. Deegan Huisman (41st, 51st minutes) scored a brace for the Americans to give Japan a few nervous moments.
After Kenta Tanaka’s goal in the 45th minute, Japan were made to fight hard and finally managed to draw level a minute before the final hooter through a penalty corner conversion by Shuguru Hoshi. Both Japan and USA have seven points from three games but the Americans, who have impressed one and all in the tournament so far, finished on top by virtue of better goal difference.
USA, thus, directly qualified for the last-four round, while Japan will have to play the cross-overs to make it to the semifinals.