Sultan of Johor Cup: Indian junior hockey team loses 3-4 to Japan

Indian junior men's hockey team suffered its first loss in the Sultan of Johor Cup as it lost 3-4 in a fiercely-contested match against Japan on Tuesday

Indian hockey junior team captain Mandeep Mor in action at the Sultan of Johor Cup.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Indian junior men's hockey team suffered its first loss in the Sultan of Johor Cup as it went down 3-4 to Japan on Tuesday. Kosei Kawabe (22', 37') scored a brace for Japan while Wataru Matsumoto (1') and Keita Watanabe (33') added two more either side of the half-time to register its first win of the tournament.

India fought back through goals from Gursahibjit Singh(31'), Shardanand Tiwari (38') and Pratap Lakra (53') but was unable to break the Japanese resistance.

Japan won a penalty corner in the first minute of the game and Wataru Matsumoto converted to give his team the lead. Japan goalkeeper Takumi Kitagawa saved Pratap Lakra's dragflick in the third minute to prevent an equaliser.

In a scrappy second period, India created multiple opportunities for the equaliser, but was unable to breach the Japanese defence. Japan was sharp on the counter attack, and scored a second in the 22nd minute -- Kosei Kawabe converting a PC to double the lead.

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India struck in the first minute of the third quarter, after Gursahibjit Singh combined with Mandeep Mor to score from a penalty corner variation. Japan hit back in the 33rd minute when Keita Watanabe converted Japan's fifth PC of the game to make it 3-1.

Kosei Kawabe scored Japan's fourth in the 37th minute to extend its lead to a three-goal cushion. In the next minute, Sharda Nand Tiwari slotted an inch perfect drag flick into the top right to make the score 4-2.

India went all out attack in the final quarter but was the Japanese defence successfully thwarted the attempts. In the 53rd minute, India won another PC and Pratap Lakra struck to his team close to the equalising, but Japan saw out the remaining time to win the match.

India will face Australia in its next round robin match on Wednesday.

All the matches played at the 9th Sultan of Johor Cup will be exclusively streamed on notthefootyshow YouTube channel.