Hockey Asia Cup: Indian thrash Japan 5-1 in opener

(Image credit-Zee News)

Dhaka: The Indian hockey team started the 10th edition of the Asia Cup campaign with a comprehensive 5-1 win over Japan at Dhaka on Wednesday. SV Sunil (3rd minute), Lalit Upadhyay (22’), Ramandeep Singh (33’) and Harmanpreet Singh (35’, 48’) got their names in the scoresheet for India.

Playing for the first time under new coach Sjoerd Marijne, the 2013 runners-up started the match with an attacking intent and found the net in each quarter, including twice in the third quarter.

It took just three minutes for India to get going when Akashdeep Singh started a counter attack, before passing the ball to SV Sunil who shot into an open net, to open the proceedings. But, the joy was short-lived as Japan equalised in the next minute itself through Kenji Kitazato’s field strike. But it did not deter the two time champions, who regularly exploited the space from the wings to build up their attacks.

The second quarter saw India again take the lead in the 22nd minute when Lalit Upadhyay controlled a long ball from Harmanpreet before taking a clever turn and firing an unstoppable shot into the Japan goal.

India doubled their lead two minutes into the second half when Ramandeep Singh’s fierce strike from the right flank in the 33rd minute. A penalty kick was awarded to India in the 35th minute, Harmanpreet who had earlier missed a penalty-kick, however scored the second penalty to make it 4-1 for India.

It was all India as the game progressed, with a 3 goal cushion it was time to kill the game and India did just that keeping more possession in the ball and at the same time thwarting any Japan attack. The two time champions even got one more goal when India were a awarded another penalty corner in the 48th minute, their fourth of the match. Harmanpreet stepped up once again to score his second goal of the night and help India win the match.

It was a perfect start for the Indians as they showcased their ball playing abilities and produced a perfect hockey match win the win. They next play Bangladesh in their next Pool A match on Friday.

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