Jakarta: India pulled off a stunning 2-1 win in the Hero Asia Cup 2022 Super 4s match against Japan at the GBK Sports Complex Hockey Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia on Saturday. Manjeet (8'), and Pawan Rajbhar (35') starred for India, scoring the two goals for the team. Takuma Niwa (18') scored the sole goal for Japan in the match.
The match started with Japan earning an early Penalty Corner, but Yoshiki Kirishita's dragflick went wide off the mark. Raiki Fujishima struck the ball into the back of the nets in the next minute, but the umpire had blown his whistle before the shot was taken due to an infringement in the lead-up, and the goal was disallowed. Manjeet showcased individual brilliance from the left flanks in the 8th minute, as he broke through Japan's defence to give India a 1-0 lead. Nilam Sanjeep Xess had a chance to double India's lead from a Penalty Corner as the first quarter came to an end.
Trailing by a goal, Japan started showcasing attacking intent at the start of the second quarter. Takuma Niwa managed to hit a rebound off a PC into the nets to level the scoreline in the 18th minute. Japan received two quick Penalty Corners but India goalkeeper Suraj Karkera made two excellent saves to deny the opposition. Searching for a goal to regain their lead, India continued to press deeper inside Japan's circle. But Japan maintained their nerves and the match went to Halftime with the scoreline reading India 1-1 Japan.
India received a golden opportunity at the start of the second half with Maninder Singh sending a long pass towards SV Sunil, who was standing unmarked inside the circle. But the ball just went wide off the Indian veteran. A few minutes later, Pawan Rajbhar struck the ball into the nets after receiving a pass from Uttam Singh, and India regained their lead in the match. India maintained their nerves in defence after taking the lead, denying Japan the opportunity to level the score from a PC.
At the start of the final quarter, Manjeet tried to extend India's lead with a shot towards the goal from an acute angle, but Japan goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa made the save. Ryoma Ooka broke inside the circle a few minutes later, but the Indian defence stood tall and did not allow him to take a shot. Japan made several threatening moves inside the circle. But India maintained their composure till the final whistle and won the match 2-1.
India will play their next game of the Super 4s against Malaysia on Sunday.