Hockey: India eves beat Japan 2-1 to win Olympic Test event

Navjot Kaur (11th minute) opened the scoring to put India ahead but the lead was neutralised within a minute as Minami Shimizu (12’) scored for the hosts. Lalremsiami (33’) struck the winning goal for India.

Lalremsiami (l) celebrates with Monika after scoring a goal.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Indian women hockey team won the Olympic Test event with Navjot Kaur and Lalremsiami leading the side to a 2-1 win over Japan in the final on Wednesday.

Navjot Kaur (11th minute) opened the scoring to put India ahead but the lead was neutralised within a minute as Minami Shimizu (12’) scored for the hosts. Lalremsiami (33’) struck the winning goal for India.

India dominated the first 10 minutes, and finally managed to find the breakthrough when forward Navjot kept her nerves under pressure and produced a fine finish in front of the goal.

However, the next minute saw Japan strike back immediately with a well-crafted field goal which was put into the back of the net by Shimizu to make it 1-1.

The second quarter saw both the teams focus on their defensive structure and tread carefully in the attacking third.

India had a few chances in the first few minutes, with the likes of Vandana Katariya and Navjot combining well on the attacking front, but could not produce a goal-scoring opportunity.

READ: India men thump New Zealand 5-0 in Olympic Test Event final

Japan also tried to create some opportunities of their own, with goal-scorer Shimizu coming close to scoring her second of the match, but India defended well.

It was an aggressive start from the Indian team after the half-time break as they won themselves a penalty corner in the 33rd minute.

India’s prolific drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur stepped up to take the execution, but her shot was saved by the Japanese Goalkeeper Megumi Kageyama.

However, the rebound fell to India’s young forward Lalremsiami, who did not make a mistake in putting the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-1 for India.

It was a huge blow to the hosts who were finding it difficult to cope up with India’s rhythm, but after some tough battles in the midfield, the Japanese team earned themselves back-to-back penalty corners in the 42nd minute.

READ: Indian women enter final of Tokyo Olympic test event

However, India’s defense was up to the task, and made sure that they protected their lead. India also had a penalty corner in the 45th minute, but could not extend their lead.

The first chance of the last quarter came India’s way but Kageyama made a diving save. Japan too got back-to-back penalty corners but Indian Goalkeeper Savita made a great save on the second attempt to make sure that India saw out a 2-1 win.