India Hockey Team closer to semifinal spot with convincing win over Japan

Vastavam web: Defending champions India continued their goal-scoring spree and spanked Japan 8 0 to register their third consecutive win in the men’s hockey competition at the Asian Games, here friday. The holders have so far scored 51 goals in three matches after demolishing Indonesia 17-0 and registering a record 26-0 win over Hong Kong China in their previous two Pool A games.

Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh (17th, 37th minutes) and Mandeep Singh (32nd, 56th) struck twice while SV Sunil (7th), Dilpreet Singh (12th), Akashdeep Singh (45th) and Vivek Sagar Prasad (47th) also registered their names in the score sheet. India started on a bright note and attacked the Japanese goal in numbers from the onset.

India’s first charge came as early as the second minute but Dilpreet’s deflection from a Surender Kumar’s cross went wide. The defending champions though did not have to wait much to get on board as Akashdeep fed Sunil with a reverse hit pass and the experienced striker easily found the back of the net. The Indian team missed out on converting a penalty corner before Japan made its first real attempt but could not execute. It was Kenta Tanaka, who fired one in from the right but an alert Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh blocked the shot.

Going into the second quarter, India had a 2-0 cushion and it became 3-0 when Rupinder converted a penalty corer in the 17th minute. Japan kept fighting and foiled India’s two more attempts thereafter. India missed out on a penalty corner chance early in the third quarter but two minutes after the change of ends Amit Rohidas set it up for Mandeep, who pushed the ball in from close range past the Japanese goalie Takashi Yoshikawa to make it 4-0. India kept Japan under the pump, earning their fifth penalty corner soon but failed to convert as Rupinder’s flick was blocked by the Japanese custodian.