Clinical is the word. A very young Indian side produced their best performance so far in the tournament with a 2-1 win against Asian Games gold medallists Japan. Manjeet, who scored the opener with a sensational field goal, is the player of the match. It has everything, athleticism, skill, finish... then Pawan Rajbhar finishes another fine move from Uttam Singh to seal the win.
But Japan were more than a handful in the first three quarters, dominating every aspect of the goal. And the reward was a Takuma Niwa goal from a rebound. In fact, they also hit the woodwork. But India held firm. Meaning, a good win for a very promising side. Sardar Singh, once India's midfield general, looked happy at the hooter. That pretty much sums up India's performance.
So, India are now at the top of the Super 4 table after round 1. Malaysia, who earlier played out a 2-2 draw with South Korea are second. Japan are fourth. India next play Malaysia tomorrow, same time, while Japan meet Korea in the early kick-off. Catch IND vs JPN, Asia Cup 2022 highlights here.
6:37 PM IST: Full-time - India 2-1 Japan
And with seconds left, India win a free-hit and deep inside the Japanese defensive half. Free hit for Japan, followed by a yellow for an Indian player. That's all. Hooter in Jakarta.
India get their revenge.
6:36 PM IST: 4th-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
Brave block from Vishnukant Singh to end a Japanese move. 90 seconds remaining. Japan win another free hit, far corner. Foul from Maninder and another free hit for Japan. Then a long corner.
6:34 PM IST: 4th-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
It turns out, the foot fault was just outside the circle, and India keep the referral. Free hit for Japan. And some desperate defending from India.
6:31 PM IST: 4th-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
Lees than four minutes, and India losing their defensive shape. Selvam Karthi is back. Looks fine, but the tumble that he took looked nasty. Fine play from Koji Yamasaki and he wins a PC, and India challenges the call. Referral taken.
6:28 PM IST: 4th-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
What a run, again, from Uttam. His release for SV Sunil however is blocked by Kaito Tanaka. From the ensuing play, Japan launch their own move.
6:26 PM IST: 4th-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
PC for Japan. Raj Kumar Pal gets the final touch before the call. Japan waste another PC. India on the move, and infringement from a Japane player. India win long corner. And get a free hit near the far corner. But India opt to relay back and carried. Free hit for Japan.
6:23 PM IST: 4th-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
Uttam very very pacy today. But a Japanese defender makes clean stop, then India win the ball back near the centre line. Cagey final period. Japan win a free hit after the ball raises dangerously, then Ryoma Ooka gets the ball inside the D. But dangeroys play, and umpire calls it. And another dagerous play. Maninder Singh gets hit on the face, flush from a Masaki Ohashi push.
6:20 PM IST: 4th-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
Selvam Karthi getting medical attention. After a quick counter from India, from the right, by Ken Nagayosh pushes him on the ground just outside the goal. Review, and no PC. But a long corner. Tight call. India fail to capitalise.
6:18 PM IST: 4th-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
Sheshe Gowda showing his skills, but India lose the possession. Japan pressing hard. SV Sunil then makes a vital interception to cut short Japanese move.
6:15 PM IST: 3rd-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
Good run on the left from Mareeswaran Shakthivel, but poor pass. Japan then win a free hit from a Maninder Singh body check.
Manjeet links up with SV Sunil on the right, and free hit. Taken too quickly, and India lose possession. Another free hit for India, in the dying minutes. Then Japan on the move again. Furious.
Hooter. And India's session.
6:12 PM IST: 3rd-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
Selvam Karthi looks to beat two Japanese defenders just outside the D, but he is outmatched. Releasing is always a better option in a tight spot. India however find the move from the left and a craker of reverse hit, almost finds unmarked Maninder Singh in front of the goal.
6:10 PM IST: 3rd-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
Needless, reckless and hard tackle to Tsubasa Yamamizu ad PC for Japan, fifth for them. Looking for a backdoor pass after the routine goes stray. And India escape.
6:08 PM IST: 3rd-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
Vishnukant Singh brought down near the centre line. Free-hit for India. Nilam Sanjeep Xess finds SV Sunil, on the right but Hiromasa Ochiai is marking the India veteran very well. Not an inch given. Japan win the ball back.
6:05 PM IST: 3rd-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
Japan launch a quick attack even as India take some time to sink in after that brilliant score for a lead. But the defensive line hold firm. And on the counter, Uttam, once again scorches the left flank. But a free-hit for Japan.
6:03 PM IST: 3rd-quarter - India 2-1 Japan
GOAL!!!! 34th minute. Kato Ryosei with a brilliant defensive play to thwart an Indian attack. Japan launch attack, deep from their own half. Foot fault from an Indian on the right flank, near the flag. Japan look to switch flanks, and Uttam beats a couple of defenders on the byline. Then, he releases. What a sensational diving finish from Pawan Rajbhar. His fourth in this edition.
6:00 PM IST: 3rd-quarter - India 1-1 Japan
Japan start the third quarter, from right to left. And Raiki Fujishima fails to trap the ball after a good move on the right.
India, on the counter, look dangerous. Manjeet looks to find SV Sunil inside the D, but the ball fails the reach the intended target.
5:48 PM IST: Half-time- India 1-1 Japan
Desperate defending from India, near the near corner, then run the clock down. It's 1-1.
Japan dominant. 54% possession, nine circle penetration as against India's eight, four PCs as against India's 1, and six shots on the goal. Four for India.
5:47 PM IST: 2nd-quarter - India 1-1 Japan
A rare show of brilliance from Uttam Singh on the right. Cutting inside and creating a chance. But India fail to finish the move. Meanwhile, Maninder is back.
5:45 PM IST: 2nd-quarter - India 1-1 Japan
Schoolboy error. Maninder Singh releases the ball after the umpire sounded the whistle. And he gets a green. What a chance. India, inside the D, were looking for the second.
5:43 PM IST: 2nd-quarter - India 1-1 Japan
Koji Yamasaki, with a very unusual No.1 jersey, controls the play in the midfield. India, after chasing the shadow for some time, win the possession and a free-hit near the half-line after hitting the foot of a Japanese player. Selvam Karthi then runs into Ken Nagayoshi and stick on the face near the by line. Pain.
5:40 PM IST: 2nd-quarter - India 1-1 Japan
SV Sunil goes for the goal from a long push, and a cracker of an attempt. Then, Ikumi Saeki and Manjeet go head-to-head again. They must be sick of each other now. Circle penetration now 5 for India, and 8 for Japan.
5:37 PM IST: 2nd-quarter - India 1-1 Japan
Japan's period for sure. PCs in quick succession, fourth so far in the match, after Birendra Lakra blocks Yuma Nagai. Lucky India, fine save from the goalie and Kato Ryosei hits the woodwork from the rebound.
India on the counter, then Takashi Yoshikawa produces a stunning save. It's intense.
5:33 PM IST: 2nd-quarter - India 1-1 Japan
Goal!! 17th minute. Back-to-back free-hits for Japan. Deflection from Nilam Sanjeep Xess, then Raiki Fujishima win a PC from a quick restart. Fine save Suraj Karkera in the initial attempt, but fails to read the rebound. Japan equalise through Takuma Niwa.
5:30 PM IST: 2nd-quarter - India 1-0 Japan
Early long corner for India in the second quarter. Birendra Lakra looks to roll, probably looking to find Nilam Sanjeep Xess but fails to link up.
5:28 PM IST: India also lead the possession game after a slow start, 60-40. But the Japanese looked more attack-minded, and then India made their lone chance count.
5:27 PM IST: 1st-quarter - India 1-0 Japan
Yuma Nagai loses his footing, just outside their D, after a clash of bodies. Free hit, and Japan forced India to make a desperate clearance with skipper Birendra Lakra on the last line of defence. Then the hooter. It's India in the lead.
5:25 PM IST: 1st-quarter - India 1-0 Japan
Maninder Singh, again, showing his class. From the right, and looking a foot, any foot inside the D. And he gets. PC. Little preparation for India, and Nilam Sanjeep Xess, from the second battery, fails to make a clean contact. Wasted.
Then, Japan on the counter. Danger lurking.
5:23 PM IST: 1st-quarter - India 1-0 Japan
SV Suni, the most experienced player in the Indian ranks with 264 caps, loses possession near half line. But India win the ball back soon enough to launch another attack. Maninder scoops ball, hoping to link with an attacker but...
5:19 PM IST: 1st-quarter - India 1-0 Japan
GOAL! 7th minute. What a run from Manjeet. Showing his 3D skills, beating three defenders from the left and scoring a beauty of a field gold. No chance for Takashi Yoshikawa as the Indian youngster produces conjures up a sensational finish after a couple of control in the air.
5:17 PM IST: 1st-quarter - India 0-0 Japan
Brave play from Mareeswaran Shakthivel on the right, and India's first real chance, penetrating the circle.
5:16 PM IST: 1st-quarter - India 0-0 Japan
Takuma Niwa fails to trap the ball cleanly near the near corner. Free hit for India. India are trying to settle, and slow things down. But Manjeet, on the left flank, loses possession again. Japan changes flank and Ryoma Ooka enjoys a clear run.
5:14 PM IST: 1st-quarter - India 0-0 Japan
Japan in control. Maninder Singh loses possession in the attacking half, but India do well to win the ball back. Then Manjeet loses control again.
5:12 PM IST: 1st-quarter - India 0-0 Japan
Koji Yamasaki injects, but hurried take spoils the chance. A short corner quickly taken, then free hit for India as a Japanese attacker play blocking.
5:10 PM IST: 1st-quarter - India 0-0 Japan
Early instructions from Sardar Singh after India lose possession in the right flank, near the half-line. Then, Japan win a PC.
5:08 PM IST: Ready
Customary clash of sticks. India in their traditional blues, and Japan in reds. Japan are unbeaten so far. India attacking from right to left.
5:02 PM IST: National Anthems, India first.
4:58 PM IST: Minutes Away
Birendra Lakra, a little while ago, said the Indian team is motivated after their 16-0 win over Indonesia and believed, they have ironed out a few chinks.
4:53 PM IST: India's Remaining Fixtures
Against Malaysia on Sunday, and South Korea Tuesday. The top two teams after the end of Super 4s will play in the final, scheduled for June 1.
4:42 PM IST: Other Results
Moments ago, Malaysia held four-time champions South Korea to a 2-2 in the first Super 4 match. In the crossovers, Pakistan beat a spirited Oman 5-2 after conceding an early goal.
4:30 PM IST: India Line-up
Suraj Karkera (gk), Birendra Lakra (c), Karthi Selvam, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, SV Sunil, Raj Kumar Pal, Sheshe Gowda, Maninder Singh, Vishnukant Singh, Manjeet, Abhishek Lakra.
Take a look at the lineup for today's encounter between India and Japan, which is held in Jakarta, Indonesia, at the Hero Asia Cup 2022.#IndiaKaGame #HockeyIndia #HeroAsiaCup #INDvsJPN @CMO_Odisha @sports_odisha @Media_SAI @IndiaSports pic.twitter.com/6R7reHm1wI— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) May 28, 2022
4:12 PM IST: Welcome to live coverage of IND vs JPN match
So far so good for India in Jakarta. Despite one win, one draw and one defeat, India's title defence is still alive and kicking. But the young team faces a stiff challenge against Japan. India lost to Japan in their pool match. So, expect India to play with renewed vigour and intensity. Match starts 5:00 PM IST.
It's turbulent times in Indian hockey. A court-appointed Committee of Administrators has taken over the reins following the 'revelation' of Narinder Batra abusing his position as a 'life member'. Simply put, there is no national federation now. But on the field, the men's national team has found a crop of youngsters who are ready to take the next big step. Coached by India legend Sardar Singh, the Birendra Lakra-led side could manage only a 1-1 draw against fellow three-time champions Pakistan in their Pool A opener, then suffered a 2-5 humbling from Japan. India then hammered Indonesia 16-0 in their final pool match to make the Super 4s, beating Pakistan to the second spot by a one-goal difference. It also meant that Pakistan have failed to qualify for the 2023 World Cup in India. And today in Jakarta, India will eye revenge against Japan.