Asian Champions Trophy: India rout listless Japan

The Indian men's hockey team celebrate a goal against Japan. (PC: Hockey India)
The Indian men's hockey team celebrate a goal against Japan. (PC: Hockey India)
Hari Kishore M

The Indian men's hockey team continued their unbeaten run in the Asian Champions Trophy when they beat Japan 6-0 on Sunday.

Harmanpreet Singh, (10', 53') Dilpreet Singh (23'), Jarmanpreet Singh (34'), Sumit (46'), and Shamsher Singh (54') scored for India as they picked up a big win, ahead of the semi-finals.

India are in contention for their third consecutive title at the Asian Champions Trophy, having won the prestigious tournament in 2016 and being joint winners in 2018.

India's dynamic front line started troubling the Japanese defense as soon as the hooter blew, as they received a flurry of penalty corners early on in the first quarter.

Defender Harmanpreet Singh made the most of the opportunity in the 10th minute as he converted it into the first goal for India. India camped inside Japan's circle in the final few minutes of the first quarter.

Read: Harmanpreet Singh happy with teams performance at 2021 Men's Asian Champions Trophy

Young striker Shilanand Lakra and experienced striker Lalit Kumar Upadhyay managed to get shots on target but were denied by Japan goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa.

As soon as the second quarter started, Japan started working hard to find the equalizer. In the 21st minute, Japan received a penalty corner, but once again the Indian defense was up to the task and denied Japan the equalizer.

Dilpreet Singh continued his goal-scoring form as he put the ball back into the nets in the 23rd minute to score India's second goal. Japan received another penalty corner in the dying minutes of the second quarter but were yet again unable to breach India's defense.

India continue good form

After half-time, Japan started showing attacking intent to cover up the deficit quickly and immediately attempted to make circle penetrations. But India continued to defend well, leaving no gaps for the Japan forwards to get a shot away.

Jarmanpreet Singh scored from a reverse hit in the 34th minute to extend India's lead to 3-0. India goalkeeper Suraj Karkera made two important saves in the third quarter with Kenta Tanaka making threatening penetrations inside India's circle, and India maintained their clean sheet going into the final 15 minutes of play.

Also read: Hockey India to take part in 2022 Commonwealth Games

Sumit then scored the fourth goal in the 46th minute after India surprised Japan's defense with quick penetrations and passes.

Japan's defense faltered, awarding India a late penalty corner, and Harmanpreet Singh converted it into a goal with ease, scoring India's fifth in the 53rd minute.

A minute later, Shilanand Lakra combined with Shamsher Singh as the latter completed the rout in the 54th minute.

Japan made penetrating runs in the final few minutes, but India maintained their calm and came away with another clean sheet, winning the match 6-0.

Also read: Meet Sonia Bathla: The only Indian woman official for 2023 Men's Hockey World Cup

Edited by Parimal
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