The Indian men’s hockey team came back from a one-goal deficit to beat Japan 3-1 in their second Pool A match of the Junior Asia Cup 2023 in Salalah, Oman, on Thursday.
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Araijeet Singh Hundal (36’), Sharda Nand Tiwari (39’) and Uttam Singh (56’) scored for India. At the same time, Kumpei Yasuda (19’) scored the goal for Japan. This is India’s second consecutive win at the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023. The Indian junior men’s hockey team was on the attack from the get-go. Japan, however, managed to keep the Indian attackers at bay. Japan almost opened the scoring late in the first quarter but the Indian defence stood firm as the teams went into the break locked at 0-0.
Early in the next quarter, it was Japan who broke the deadlock, against the run of play. Kumpei Yasuda slotted it past the goalkeeper from the left. Keen to get an equaliser, India upped the ante and began to put the Japanese defence under pressure. However, the Japanese goalkeeper kept the Uttam Singh-led India from turning the game around. At the half-time break, Japan led 1-0.
After the interval, it was Japan who started out as the better team, keeping India in their own half. However, the Indian team rallied back, scoring the equaliser as Araijeet Singh Hundal rifled it home. Thereafter, India went on the offensive, and won a series of penalty corners, the last of which helped them storm into the lead. Sharda Nand Tiwari powered it into the top corner to put India ahead.
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After this, India got consecutive penalty corners on which Sharda Nand Tiwari gave the lead. In the last quarter, Uttam Singh scored a penalty to increase the lead to two goals. India will face Pakistan on May 27 and Thailand on May 28 in the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023.