Asia Cup Hockey: India beat Japan 2-1 in the first match of Super 4 League. ProIQRA News

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(Photo: Twitter / @TheHockeyIndia)

Jakarta: The Indian men’s hockey team scored two stunning field goals in their first Super 4 League match to beat Japan 2-1 and avenged their defeat in the Asia Cup pool stage here on Saturday.

The defending champions, who lost 2-5 to Japan in the pool stage, recorded a brief victory by scoring two eye-catching field goals through Manjit (8th minute) and Pawan Rajbhar (35th minute).

Japan’s only goal came in the 18th minute from a penalty corner through Takuma Niva.

Japan initially threatened India and won a penalty corner in the first minute but the Indians thwarted the threat.

The confidence of the Indians increased and as the match progressed, their footsteps froze.

It was a moment of Manjit’s brilliant performance that gave India the lead. He made a brilliant solo run from the left after getting a pass from Pawan Raj and used 3D skills to defeat Takashi Yoshikawa under the Japanese bar.

Maninder Singh gave India a penalty corner in the 13th minute but Neelam Sanjeep Sis’ effort was saved by the Japanese defense.

As was the case in the first quarter, the Japanese started the second 15 minutes on a promising note and took a penalty corner in the 18th minute from where Takoma Niwas rebounded after Indian goalkeeper Karkira saved Ken Nagayoshi’s early shot. Rounded up

Going beyond the goal, Japan continued to put pressure on the Indian defense and won two more penalty corners, which were stopped by the Indian defense.

Minutes later, Karti Salem missed a golden opportunity as he failed to overtake Japanese goalkeeper Yoshikawa in a one-on-one situation.

Rajbhar restored India’s lead in the second half with five minutes to spare at home from close range after being set up by Atam Singh’s brilliant stickwork.

Five minutes later, India conceded another penalty corner but the Japanese failed to seize the opportunity.

With one goal behind, the Japanese kept up the pressure on the Indian fort but the backline led by Barinder Lakra remained steadfast to maintain its lead.

Just three minutes into the final, Japan took a penalty corner but the Indians defended in numbers to record the win.

India will play Malaysia in their next Super 4 match on Sunday.

Meanwhile, in the second Super 4 match of the day, South Korea and Malaysia drew 2-2.

In the Super 4s, India, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia will face each other, with the top two teams reaching the final.