Asian Champions Trophy: India beats fighting Japan 3-2, to face Pakistan in the final

It turned out to be a tall task for the world no. 5 despite having pummelled the same opponent by a convincing 9-0 margin in the league stages.

India booked its place in the final of the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament, where it will lock horns with Pakistan. (File Picture)   -  PTI

Defending champion India eked out a close 3-2 win over Asian Games gold medalist Japan to enter the final of the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) hockey tournament, here on Saturday.

It turned out to be a tall task for the world no. 5 despite having pummelled the same opponent by a convincing 9-0 margin in the league stages.

Young striker Gurjant Singh gave India the lead in the 19th minute with a fine reverse hit field goal before Japan equalised through Wakuri three minutes later from a penalty corner.

After the change of ends, India restored its lead when Chinglensana Singh converted off a penalty corner in the 44th minute.

Five minutes from the hooter, Dilpreet Singh made it 3-1 with a superb field strike. But India’s joy was shortlived as Japan reduced the margin a minute later; Zendana scoring from a penalty corner.

India, however, defended well to thwart Japan’s surge in the final few minutes to book its place in the final, against Pakistan.

Earlier in the day, two-time champion Pakistan defeated Malaysia 3-1 in the shootout after a 4-4 draw in regulation period of the first semifinal.