Defending champions and Olympic bronze medallist India suffered a stunning 3-5 defeat against Japan in the second semifinal of the Asian Champions Trophy men’s hockey tournament in Dhaka on Tuesday.
India were the overwhelming favourites before the start of the match after having thrashed the same opponents 6-0 in their last round-robin match and also on head-to-head record, but the Japanese had other plans.
The Japanese looked a completely different side on Tuesday as they toyed with the defence of the Manpreet Singh-led side from the beginning. Japan scored through Shota Yamada (1st minute, penalty), Raiki Fujishima (2nd minute), Yoshiki Kirishita (14th), Kosei Kawabe (35th) and Ryoma Ooka (41st).
India’s goals were scored by Dilpreet Singh (17th minute), vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh (43rd) and Hardik Singh (58th). India and Japan had met 18 times before with the hosts winning 16 games, while Japan emerged victorious on one occasion and one ended in a draw.
Japan will now take on South Korea in the summit clash, while India will be once again up against Pakistan in the bronze medal clash on Wednesday. The tournament ended in an anti-climax for India after having topped the round-robin stages with an unbeaten record.
In the other semifinal of the day, South Korea beat Pakistan 6-5 in a thrilling contest.