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India beat Japan in the first league match of Super-4 in Asia Cup Hockey
India beat Japan in the first league match of Super-4 in Asia Cup Hockey

The Indian men's hockey team has also avenged the defeat of the team in the pool stage by defeating Japan 2-1 in their opening match of the Super-4 stage of the Asia Cup here on Saturday. The defending champion, who lost 2-5 against Japan in the pool stage, has won with field goals from Manjeet (8th minute) and Pawan Rajbhar (35th minute). The only goal from Japan is on a penalty corner by Takuma Niwa in the 18th minute.  

Japan put pressure on India at the start of the match and got a penalty corner in the first minute itself but the Indian players have also managed to thwart it. As the match progressed, the confidence of the Indian players also increased and they started dominating. Manjeet, after getting a pass from Pawan Rajbhar in the 8th minute, took the ball alone from the left edge and went ahead and converted it into a goal and started the show of a great game.  

Maninder Singh gave India a penalty corner in the 13th minute but Neelam Sanjeev Jess's attempt has been saved by the Japanese defence. Like the opening quarter, Japan have also made an aggressive start in the second quarter, winning a penalty corner in the 18th minute. Ken Nagayoshi's flick was saved by Indian goalkeeper Suraj Karkera but on the rebound, Takuma Niwas scored a goal to make the score 1-1.

 

Japan also put pressure and earned two more penalty corners but the Indian defence failed it. A minute later, Karthi Selvam got a golden chance to score a goal but he failed to overtake the Japanese goalkeeper. Rajbhar has converted Uttam Singh's brilliant pass into a goal five minutes before the end of the second half. Japan, trailing by a goal, increased the pressure on India, but the Birendra Lakra-led defence kept them away from the goal post.

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