Asia Cup Hockey: The Indian men’s hockey team avenged their defeat in the pool stage by defeating Japan 2-1 in their opening match of the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup here on Saturday. Defending champions, who lost 2-5 against Japan in the pool stage, won with field goals from Manjit (8th minute) and Pawan Rajbhar (35th minute).
India beat Japan
Japan’s lone goal was scored by Takuma Niwa from a penalty corner in the 18th minute. Japan put pressure on India at the beginning of the match and got a penalty corner in the first minute itself but were foiled by the Indian players. As the match progressed, the confidence of the Indian players also increased and they started dominating.
Indian players amazing
Manjeet, after receiving a pass from Pawan Rajbhar in the eighth minute, took the ball alone from the left bank and went ahead and converted it into a goal. Maninder Singh gave India a penalty corner in the 13th minute but Neelam Sanjeev Jess’s effort was saved by Japan’s defense. Like in the opening quarter, Japan started aggressively in the second quarter and got a penalty corner in the 18th minute. Ken Nagayoshi’s flick was saved by Indian goalkeeper Suraj Karkera but Takuma Niwas scored 1-1 on the rebound.
Japan could not return
Even after this, Japan got two more penalty corners under pressure but the Indian defense failed them. A minute later, Karthi Selvam got a golden opportunity to score but he failed to get past the Japan goalkeeper. Five minutes before the end of the second half, Rajbhar converted a brilliant pass from Uttam Singh into the goal. Japan, trailing by a goal, increased the pressure on India, but the defense led by Birendra Lakra kept them away from the goal post. Japan got a penalty corner three minutes before the final hooter but the Indian team once again made a brilliant defense.
India will play Malaysia in their next Super Four stage match on Sunday. Meanwhile, South Korea and Malaysia played out a 2-2 draw in the second Super Four match of the day.