The Indian men’s hockey team came from behind to clinch a comfortable 3-1 win against Japan in their second Pool A game at the Junior Asia Cup in Salalah, Oman on Thursday.
Araijeet Singh Hundal (36th), Sharda Nand Tiwari (39th) and Uttam Singh (56th) scored a goal apiece for India while Kumpei Yasuda (19th) found the back of the net for Japan.
This was India’s second win in as many games at the junior continental championship.
India mounted an attack from the get-go and was keen on landing the first blow against Japan. However, Japan held on in the early exchanges, keeping its opponents at bay.
Nonetheless, soon after the midway mark, the Indian colts started to create more chances with Sudeep Chirmako making the opposition goalie work. Japan almost opened the scoring late in the quarter at the other end, but India stood firm, with the teams going into the break locked at 0-0.
It was Japan who broke the deadlock, against the run of play, as Kumpei Yasuda slotted it past the left of goalkeeper to lead 1-0 at the half-time break.
After the interval, it was Japan who started out the better team, keeping India in its own half for quite a bit. However, India rallied back, scoring the equaliser soon after as Hundal rifled it home from the left.
With its tails up, India went on the offensive, and won a series of penalty corners, the last of which helped it storm into the lead as Sharda Nand powered it into the top corner.
With one quarter left, India was leading 2-1.
In the final quarter, India started out on the front foot, eager to add to its advantage. Eleven minutes in, India won a penalty corner, and captain Uttam Singh scored to give his side a two-goal cushion.
Japan looked to counterpunch quickly but India’s defenders put their bodies on the line, and eventually saw out the contest with a 3-1 scoreline.
India will play Pakistan on May 27 before taking on Thailand in its last pool game on May 28.
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