Fans jubilant as India beats Japan 1-0 to settle for bronze medal


Jakarta, First Published Jun 1, 2022, 5:18 PM IST

On Wednesday, the Indian men’s hockey team produced a spirited performance to trump Japan 1-0 and clinched the bronze medal in the Asia Cup 2022. On Tuesday, it missed a place in the title clash on goal difference after a thrilling 4-4 draw against South Korea. India, the defending champion, came out with purpose and scored a field goal through Raj Kumar Pal in the seventh minute of the game before defending in numbers to seal the deal. It began brilliantly and pushed hard in the opening five minutes of the match, but its attacks fizzled once out inside the opposition’s box.

The Indians broke the deadlock in the seventh following a brisk counter-attack. Uttam Singh did all the hard work on the right flank to set it up for Rajkumar Pal, neatly pushing it past Japanese goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa. The Indians secured two back-to-back penalty corners three minutes later but wasted both.

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In the final five minutes of the opening quarter, Japan pressed hard to seek an equaliser and scaled numerous raids. But, the Indian defence stood firm and held on to its lead. Trailing by a goal, Japan continued to attack and earned a couple of successive penalty corners in the 20th minute. Yet, the Indians defended in numbers to keep their lead intact.

Both Japan and India had more chances in the second quarter, but both faltered in the final third. After the change of ends, Japan attacked quickly, securing a couple more penalty corners but failing to break the stubborn Indian defence. India had a golden chance to extend its lead, but Rajkumar shot over from an SV Sunil pass from close quarters.

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In the last two quarters, the Japanese put relentless pressure on the Indian defence, searching for an equaliser. However, the Birendra Lakra-led side stood like a rock to deny its opponent. In the 48th, Japan secured three straight penalty corners but couldn’t breach the Indian backline.

Japan earned another penalty corner in the 51st, but the Indian defence again thwarted the chance. While Japan pressed hard in the remaining minutes, the Indians put numbers at the back to successfully defend its one-goal lead and assure a podium finish.

(With inputs from PTI)

Last Updated Jun 1, 2022, 5:20 PM IST

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