~ SV Sunil, Lalit Upadhyay, Ramandeep Singh scored one goal each while Harmanpreet Singh scored a brace ~
Indian Men’s Hockey Team started off their Hero Asia Cup 2017 campaign with a 5-1 win over Japan here today. SV Sunil (3’), Lalit Upadhyay (22’), Ramandeep Singh (33’), Harmanpreet Singh (35’, 48’) were the goal-scorers for India as they emerged Victorious.
The Indian team started the match with an early goal in the 3rd minute which came on the counter as Akashdeep Singh played a forward pass to SV Sunil, who then got behind the goalkeeper to score. However, Japan were quick to equalize as they won the ball at the half-line, and scored through Kenji Kitazato in the 4th minute to make it 1-1.
Both the teams looked threatening in the second quarter as they looked to get the lead in the match. India’s counter-attacking was again sublime in the 22nd minute as forward Lalit Upadhyay beautifully brought down a long ball, made a turn and shot at the Japanese goal to give the lead to Asia’s number one ranked team.
The third quarter also went India’s way as they scored just two minutes after the resumption of play when Ramandeep Singh made a fierceful strike from the right flank to score India’s third goal of the day in the 33rd minute. The Indian team then won a penalty corner in the 35th minute which was well converted by drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh to make it 4-1 in India’s favor. India did not let Japan make a comeback into the game and kept the possession to end the third quarter with the same score-line.
The fourth quarter was all about keeping shape and possession for the Indian team but they did not stop attacking the Japanese defence as they won a penalty corner in the 48th minute. It was Harmanpreet Singh who scored his second goal of the match to make it 5-1 in India’s favor. The Indian team held onto the score-line as they kept out Japan’s late efforts to pull a goal back.
India will now play Bangladesh in their next Pool An encounter on Friday 13 October 2017 at 17.00hrs IST.