India confident of successive wins against Japan

Indian team is confident of upstaging Japan in the third match

Bhubaneswar, May 6 (IANS)

Following Tuesday's win over Japan, the Indian hockey team will be high on confidence when they take on the east Asian country in the third match of the four-game bilateral Tests at the Kalinga Stadium here on Thursday.

India have their strategies in place to counter Japan's style of play and attack. On the other side, Japan faced an attacking Indian side and understood that they have to plan out-of-the-box strategies to give tough competition to the hosts.

"India were better than us in the second match and this is the only reason we lost. We made lots of mistakes and lost many opportunities. We need to change our game-plan for tomorrow's match and focus more on our strategies to improve our game," Japan coach Keonwook Kang said on Wednesday.

Under chief coach Paul vas Ass, India are working on a variety of team combinations. The two matches played so far have brought to the forefront good performances from youngsters such as S.K. Uthappa, Dharamvir Singh and Yuvraj Walmiki. Local hero Birendra Lakra is playing as per the crowd's expectations and leading the defence line by not even conceding a goal in the second match.

Utilising speedy attacks, Japan have to work on different strategies to convert more opportunities into goals. Penalty corners are a big worry for Japan as they haven't converted a single one yet, failing to breach India goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh.

"We played better in the second match than the first but failed to materialise many opportunities. Right now, we are in the process of rectifying our mistakes. Tomorrow we need to create more opportunities and convert the penalty corners into goals which will help us put ourselves in a better place," van Ass said.

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Edited by Staff Editor