The young Indian men’s hockey team put on a stellar performance to win the bronze medal by defeating Japan 1-0 in the Asia Cup in Jakarta on Wednesday. After losing an impressive 4-4 draw with South Korea on Tuesday and losing a place in the title race by a goal difference, defending champions India came out on top with a goal and fielded in the seventh minute through Raj Kumar Paul. Rounded up Defended in numbers to seal the game and then the deal. India got off to a great start and pushed hard in the first five minutes of the match but their attacks were once out of the opponent’s D.
However, the Indians broke the deadlock in the seventh minute with a quick counter-attack in which Atam Singh did his best for Prince Paul, who pushed him ahead of Japanese goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa. Three minutes later, the Indians won two back-to-back penalty corners but lost both.
In the last five minutes of the first quarter, Japan pressed hard for equality and launched several attacks but the Indian defense remained steadfast to maintain its lead.
Behind a goal, Japan continued to attack and won two consecutive penalty corners in the 20th minute but the Indians defended in numbers to maintain their lead.
Both Japan and India had some more chances in the second quarter but both teams failed in the last third.
Japan went on the offensive after a header change and went on to win two more penalty corners in a row but failed to break the determined Indian defense.
In the meantime, India had a golden opportunity to extend their lead but Rajkumar scored from close range with SV Sunil Pass.
The Japanese put constant pressure on the Indian fort in the last two quarters in search of parity but the Barinder-Lakra side stood like a rock to refute their opponents.
In the 48th minute, Japan won three consecutive penalty corners but could not break the Indian backline.
Japan won another penalty corner in the 51st minute but the Indian defense thwarted the opportunity once again.
Japan put a lot of pressure in the remaining minutes while the Indians trailed the numbers to successfully defend their one-goal lead and secure the podium finish.
At the end of the day, Malaysia and South Korea will face each other in the title match.
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