The Indian men's hockey team beat Japan 1-0 to clinch the bronze medal in the Asia Cup on Wednesday.
It had missed out on a chance to reach the Asia Cup 2022 final after playing out a thrilling 4-4 draw against South Korea at the GBK Sports Complex Hockey Stadium.
But on Wednesday, India came out with purpose and scored a field goal through Raj Kumar Pal as early as the seventh minute.
It started with a brisk counter-attack, with Uttam Singh doing all the hard work on the right flank to set it up for Pal, who neatly pushed it past the Japanese goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa. Three minutes later, the Indians secured two back-to-back penalty corners but wasted both.
In the last five minutes of the first quarter, Japan pressed hard in search of the equaliser and mounted numerous raids. But the Indian defence stood firm.
Trailing by a goal, Japan continued to attack and earned two consecutive penalty corners in the 20th minute. But the Indians kept their lead intact.
Japan came out attacking after the change of ends and secured two more penalty corners in quick succession. But it failed to cash in again.
In between, India had a golden chance to extend its lead, but Rajkumar shot over from close quarters from an SV Sunil pass.
In the 48th minute, Japan secured three successive penalty corners but couldn't breach the Indian backline.
While Japan pressed hard in the remaining minutes, the Indians put numbers at the back to successfully defend their one-goal lead and secure a podium finish.
Later in the day, Malaysia and South Korea will face off in the title clash.
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