It was the perfect start. The Indian men's hockey team found a goal in each quarter, and defended brilliantly for the majority of the 60 minutes. But the never-say-die Japanese fought back towards the end, with two late goals to reduce the margin of defeat. Nevertheless, India walked away from the match with a 4-2 victory, their third win in as many matches at the 2023 Asian Games. India will next play arch-rivals Pakistan in their Pool A encounter on Saturday, September 30. Catch all the highlights of the IND vs JPN, Preliminary Men's Pool A match, played at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Stadium in Hangzhou, China. (Match Report | Medal Tally | Preview | Schedule | Full Coverage)
7:50pm: Full Time - IND 4-2 JPN
That's it. The final hooter is sounded as India win, albeit with a hiccup towards the end. India dominated for most of the match but were a bit tentative in the last couple of minutes, and the persistent Japanese slotted two in to reduce the margin. India will next play arch-rivals Pakistan in their Pool A encounter.
7:48pm: 4th Quarter - IND 4-2 JPN (60')
Japan score again! Cracking tomahawk by Ryosei Kato as Japan pull another one back in the dying moments of the match.
7:45pm: 4th Quarter - IND 4-1 JPN (58')
India now slowing things down, though still looking to surge ahead and look for gaps in the Japanese defence. Time running out, it is all about the scoreline now. The result is clear.
7:43pm: 4th Quarter - IND 4-1 JPN (57')
Japan score! Penalty corner for Japan. Sreejesh saves Yamada's flick, but the ball lifts dangerously. PC is re-awarded, and this time Japan try a variation. Genki Mitani, the PC injector, scores with a deflection off Yamada's pass.
7:40pm: 4th Quarter - IND 4-0 JPN (55')
A PC re-award resulting from the Tanaka injury now causes injury to Vivek Sagar Prasad. Hopefully the Indian defender is okay.
7:36pm: 4th Quarter - IND 4-0 JPN (54')
Japan earn a penalty corner as Sanjay makes a defensive error. Sreejesh saves the PC drag-flick by Ken Nagayoshi, but the ricochet flies into Kaito Tanaka's face. Play is halted. Tanaka is stretchered off.
7:34pm: 4th Quarter - IND 4-0 JPN (52')
India continue to press forward, looking for a penalty corner as the Japanese defence crowds the D. Nothing comes off it though.
7:30pm: 4th Quarter - IND 4-0 JPN (49')
Abhishek scores! Lovely team goal this. Abhishek and Mandeep with a delightful one-two inside the D and Mandeep unselfishly passes it to Abhishek at the goalmouth, who converts with ease. India have in all likelihood sealed the deal here.
7:27pm: 4th Quarter - IND 3-0 JPN (46')
Final quarter begins, and Sreejesh is in goal again after two switches with Pathak.
7:25pm: 3rd Quarter - IND 3-0 JPN
Third quarter ends. India doing progressively better to ensure their dominance, defending solidly and trying to press forward in the meanwhile. Japan need something special from here.
7:23pm: 3rd Quarter - IND 3-0 JPN (44')
Japan with a real chance to score as Ryosei Kato tries to intercept a stray ball towards the right of goal, but is unable to push it in. He misses.
7:21pm: 3rd Quarter - IND 3-0 JPN (42')
Japan scrap it out in the midfield in the quest for openings, but none are forthcoming. India doing well to avoid any major defensive lapses so far.
7:19pm: 3rd Quarter - IND 3-0 JPN (40')
Abhishek takes a crack at goal from inside the D, but Yoshikawa with another good save.
7:15pm: 3rd Quarter - IND 3-0 JPN (38')
India down to 10 men, as Manpreet has to sit out for 2 minutes for a foul.
7:12pm: 3rd Quarter - IND 3-0 JPN (33')
Amit Rohidas scores! Takes a powerful drag flick towards the top right, and shows India's strength of drag-flick options. India now in the driver's seat.
7:10pm: 3rd Quarter - IND 2-0 JPN (31')
Third quarter begins. India on the offensive again.
7:08pm: 3rd Quarter - IND 2-0 JPN (31')
Third quarter begins. India on the offensive again.
6:58pm: 2nd Quarter - IND 2-0 JPN
Second quarter ends with India engaging in some defensive work. India haven't played as well as they would have liked, but have got two goals on board. Japan will need an early strike in the second half to turn things around.
6:56pm: 2nd Quarter - IND 2-0 JPN (28')
Bit of lull in gameplay as India consolidate in midfield.
6:54pm: 2nd Quarter - IND 2-0 JPN (26')
Japan with a rare circle entry but they miss out, and India with a quick counter that doesn't materialize in goal.
6:50pm: 2nd Quarter - IND 2-0 JPN (24')
India earn their fourth penalty corner, but Japan somehow avert danger. India all over Japan right now.
6:48pm: 2nd Quarter - IND 2-0 JPN (23')
Mandeep scores! India double their lead. Nilakanta with an incisive pass in a dangerous area and Mandeep makes no mistake, diving forward to send it past the keeper.
6:46pm: 2nd Quarter - IND 1-0 JPN (22')
Lalit Upadhyay misses a chance from the goalmouth, as he send a long pass from outside the D wide.
6:44pm: 2nd Quarter - IND 1-0 JPN (18')
Another circle entry by India, and this time Sukhjeet takes a shot at goal from the left flank. But Yoshikawa again saves it with his foot.
6:41pm: 2nd Quarter - IND 1-0 JPN (18')
A threatening move by India, with Mandeep taking a shot at goal from inside the circle. Japanese GK Takashi Yoshikawa comes up with a strong save.
6:39pm: 2nd Quarter - IND 1-0 JPN (16')
Second quarter begins, and Sreejesh replaces Pathak in goal.
6:37pm: 1st Quarter - IND 1-0 JPN
First quarter ends with the solitary Indian goal. India ahead but only just, with Japanese defence stout as expected.
6:35pm: 1st Quarter - IND 1-0 JPN (14')
Play resumes, it is deemed dangerous play. So a free hit for Japan.
6:33pm: 1st Quarter - IND 1-0 JPN (14')
Play has been stopped as Japanese first rusher Shota Yamada has been injured.
6:29pm: 1st Quarter - IND 1-0 JPN (14')
India score! They earned their second PC. Hardik injected, it was blocked by the first rusher but not brought out of danger. Abhishek was alert at the goalmouth to slot it in past the keeper.
6:27pm: 1st Quarter - IND 0-0 JPN (12')
Japan earn their first PC on account of dangerous play. Drag flick on target but Pathak parries it to the right.
6:25pm: 1st Quarter - IND 0-0 JPN (9')
Japan finally make a penetrative run but Sumit keeps it out at the edge of the circle. No harm done.
6:23pm: 1st Quarter - IND 0-0 JPN (7')
India dominating possession and attack waves in the early proceedings. Japan warding them off for now.
6:20pm: 1st Quarter - IND 0-0 JPN (5')
First penalty corner for India. Harmanpreet takes the drag flick but it goes wide.
6:17pm: 1st Quarter - IND 0-0 JPN (3')
Gurjant makes an entry in the circle but is thwarted by the Japanese defence.
6:15pm: Match Begins
India take the pushback and the game begins.
6:13pm: Pathak To Start In Goal
As they usually do, India will switch their goalkeepers after quarters. Krishan Bahadur Pathak will start in goal for India.
Let's take at India's line-up for the match.
#TeamIndia 🇮🇳 lines up at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Stadium in Hangzhou this evening to take on the defending champions Japan 🇯🇵— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) September 28, 2023
📆 28th Sept 6:15 PM IST
📺 Streaming on Sony LIV and Sony Sports Network.#HockeyIndia#IndiaKaGame#AsianGames#TeamIndia… pic.twitter.com/euQK4RuoAk
India had a taste of Japan's stonewalling tactics during the Asian Champions Trophy in Chennai a month back, where the hosts could convert only one of their 15 penalty corner (PC) opportunities in their group-stage encounter, and were held 1-1 by a resolute Japan. Harmanpreet Singh and his team would have learnt a few lessons from that match, and will try to use that to their advantage in Hangzhou on Thursday.
Aaj ka din hockey ke naam 🏑— Sony Sports Network (@SonySportsNetwk) September 28, 2023
After two dominant displays, @TheHockeyIndia Men's team will now look to conquer Japan in what promises to be a mouth-watering clash 💪 💥#SonySportsNetwork#Cheer4India#Hangzhou2022#IssBaar100Paar#TeamIndia#Hockey#AsianGames | @Media_SAIpic.twitter.com/WYjiMK9SNe
Just like India, Japan are undefeated in the Asiad so far, having beaten Bangladesh 7-2 in their first Pool A encounter before crushing Uzbekistan 10-1 in their second game. It is expected to be a battle between India's offence and Japan's defence, with the spotlight on PC conversions.