After a tough 1-2 loss against New Zealand in their second match of the Olympic Test Event, the Indian Men’s Hockey team booked their place in the Final after defeating Japan 6-3 in their third match of the tournament held here at the Oi Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.
Mandeep Singh (9’, 29’, 30’), Nilakanta Sharma (3’), Nilam Sanjeep Xess (7’) and Gurjant Singh (41’) scored for India, while Kentaro Fukuda (25’), Kenta Tanaka (36’) and Kazuma Murata (52’) scored the goals for Japan.
Nilakanta Sharma got India off to an excellent start through a field goal in the third minute. However, a Penalty Corner was awarded to India in the 7th minute which was converted brilliantly by Nilam Sanjeep Xess to help the team take a 2-0 lead. Mandeep Singh found the back of the net with an excellent field goal in the 9th minute. Gurinder Singh positioned himself brilliantly and defended the shot on the goal line. India led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Japan managed to open their account through a field goal by Kentaro Fukuda in the 25th minute, but Mandeep Singh scored two field goals in quick succession in the 29th and 30th minutes to help India take a massive lead at 5-1. However, the Japanese team kept putting pressure on the Indian defense unit and found a field goal through Kenta Tanaka in the 36th minute. Forward Gurjant Singh found the back of the net in the 41st minute to make it 6-2 at the end of the third quarter.
Japan attacked the Indian defense in the the fourth quarter and scored their third goal through Kazuma Murata in the 52nd minute. India were awarded a Penalty Corner with five minutes left on the clock, but the shot went wide off the post. India saved a Penalty Corner in the dying minutes of the match and ensured their place in the Final against New Zealand on Wednesday. With this win India are now at the second spot in the points table.