Japan stun defending champs India

Muscat: Japan stunned defending champions India 2-0 in their Pool A match of the Asia Cup women’s hockey tournament, at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, on Sunday.

Goals from Yuri Nagai in the first quarter and Tanaka Saki in the third quarter sealed the deal for Japan against an Indian team that looked out of sorts.

India could not replicate the form from their first game against Malaysia where they drubbed them 9-0.

JAPAN BEGIN WITH A BANG

Japan shocked India with a goal early from Yuri Nagai in the second minute in the first quarter as they took a 1-0 lead. The Indian players were struggling to get their rhythm right.

The defending champions failed to convert a couple of penalty corners in the first quarter as well as they failed to equalise and get back into the game.

The Japanese goalkeeper and defence stood strong despite repeated penetrations from Indian strikers. The Indian players could not hold onto possession for longer periods of time and struggled with breaking the shackles.

In the opening stages of the second quarter, Japan appeared the more confident team with a great deal of fluency and ease in their passes and movements.

The likes of Gurjit Kaur were lacking in creating some flair and magic in the Japanese defence as India searched for the elusive equaliser.

India saved a Japanese penalty corner after Savita dived towards her left and averted any further damage in the second quarter.

A lot of work had to be done by India to bounce back in the match.

India came close to scoring in the initial stages of the third quarter but were thwarted by the Japanese goalkeeper.

Japan kept their stranglehold over the match with some imaginative moves through midfield and stout defending.

Gurjit Kaur was unable to bring her A game to the table as she missed another penalty corner for India with time ticking away.

Japan then took a firm grip in the match when Tanaka Saki slotted home late in the third quarter to double their lead.

In the fourth and final quarter, India were desperate to make a comeback while the Japanese wanted to inflict further misery.

However, both teams were unable to sound the board as Japan claimed the honours and three points.

Source : OmanObserver

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