Takizawa Scores Twice as Japan Beats Singapore 4-2 to Take 15th Place – 07.12.2018

Japan and Singapore have already played against each other at this World Championship. It was in the group stage and Japan won 9-5. And the 15th place match had the same winner. Eiji Tikizawa tallied two goals for Japan and Ichiro Ueda scored once and added one assist. Japan ends their championship campaign in the 15th place, whereas Singapore ends up last.

Both teams focused on controlling the ball, didn’t hurry with attacking and tried to slowly develop their offensive plans. The Japanese players were the first ones to send several long passes behind their opponents’ defense, but it was the Singaporeans who opened the score at 3:55 with Hafiz Zubir’s shot from the center of the rink. Zubir also opened the score in the two teams’ first encounter at this championship, which Singapore eventually lost 5-9. The Singaporeans boasted higher possession of the ball, but they couldn’t create scoring chances. On the contrary, Japan turned the score around by three back-to-back goals, with the 19-year-old Eiji Takizawa, who participates in his first career WFC, scoring two of them. After the third conceded goal, Rosfazwan Roslan replaced Jay Pal Sidhu in Singapore’s net.

Before the start of the middle period, Japan changed their goalkeepers too and Kota Yagyu replaced Kenta Higuchi. The Singaporeans controlled the ball most of the time, but again were finding it hard to get through the Japanese defense. Japan started relying on long balls and counter-attacks at this part of the match. The Japanese goalkeeper Kota Yagyu has done a good job by saving a few dangerous Singapore’s shots, but one of them found its way through. With 34:43 on the clock, the Singaporean Glendon Phua scored the only goal of the second period. But it was one definitely worth seeing – he hit the ball in the air with his backhand and sent it straight into the net.

The Japanese goalie Kenta Higuchi returned into the crease for the last twenty minutes, which resembled the second period. The Singaporeans were strong on the ball, possessed it most of the time, trying to find a hole in their opponents’ very solid defensive block. But Japan didn’t make any mistake, cleared all balls away from their goal and didn’t let Singapore score. In the 58th minute, the Japanese captain Ichiro Ueda had the last word. The 33-year-old Swedish native and the team’s scoring leader at the tournament with 9 points (7+2), scored an empty-netter that secured the 15th place for Japan.