Hockey Asia Cup: India beat Japan 2-1 in Super 4 league opener and avenged group loss | hockey news

JAKARTA: India’s men’s hockey team scored two fantastic field goals to beat Japan 2-1 in their opening Super 4 league game and avenge their Asian Cup group stage loss here on Saturday.
The defending champions, who lost 2-5 to Japan in the group stage, scored two eye-catching field goals through Manjeet (minute 8) and Pawan Rajbhar (35) to record a narrow win.
Japan’s only goal came from a penalty corner through Takuma Niwa in the 18th minute.
Japan threatened India initially and secured a penalty corner already in the first minute, but the Indians thwarted the danger.
The Indians grew in confidence and got back on their feet as the game progressed.
It was a brilliant moment from Manjeet that gave India the lead. He made a brilliant solo run down the left flank after receiving a pass from Pawan Rajbhar and used 3D skills to perfection to beat Takashi Yoshikawa under the Japanese bar.
Maninder Singh gave India a penalty corner in the 13th minute, but Nilam Sanjeep Xess’s effort was stopped by the Japanese defence.
As in the first quarter, the Japanese started the second 15 minutes on a promising note and secured a penalty corner in the 18th minute which Takuma Niwas scored off a rebound after Ken Nagayoshi’s opening move was stopped by the Indian keeper. Karkera.
Buoyed by the goal, Japan continued to put pressure on the Indian defense and earned two more penalty corners, which the Indian defense held off.
Minutes later, Karthi Selvam squandered a golden opportunity by failing to get past Japanese goalkeeper Yoshikawa in a one-one-one.
Rajbhar restored India’s lead five minutes into the second half, scoring from close range after Uttam Singh helped him with a brilliant cross.
Five minutes later, India conceded another penalty corner but the Japanese failed to seize the opportunity.
Trailing by one goal, the Japanese put relentless pressure on the Indian citadel, but the back line led by Birendra Lakra held firm to keep their lead intact.
With just three minutes to go before the final whistle, Japan secured a penalty corner, but the Indians defended in numbers to record victory.
India will play Malaysia in their next Super 4 match on Sunday.
Meanwhile, in the other Super 4 match of the day, South Korea and Malaysia drew 2-2.
In the Super 4, India, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia will meet once and the top two teams will advance to the final.

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