Asian Champions Trophy: India suffer stunning loss versus Japan in second semi-final
Joint-defending champions and Olympic bronze medallist India dished out a below-par performance to suffer a stunning 3-5 loss to Japan in the second semi-final of the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) men’s hockey tournament here 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, but the Japanese had other plans.
Japan were a completely different side on Tuesday as they toyed with the defence of the Manpreet Singh-led side from the beginning.
The Indians were nowhere near their performance of their previous match against Japan as their defence crumbled under relentless pressure from the lower-ranked opposition from the start.
Japan raced to a 2-0 lead inside the first two minutes and the Indians failed to recover from that jolt. Japan scored through Shota Yamada (1st minute, penalty), Raiki Fujishima (2nd minute), Yoshiki Kirishita (29th), Kosei Kawabe (35th) and Ryoma Ooka (41st).
India’s goals were scored by Hardik Singh (17th, 58th minutes) and vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh (43rd).
India captain Manpreet was expectedly upset with the result. “Not the result we wanted. We were a bit lazy at the start, conceded two early goals. Big lesson for us that we can’t underestimate any team, we need to be ready for the match tomorrow (Wednesday),” he said.
Japan will now take on South Korea in the summit clash, while India will once again be up against Pakistan, who are the joint-holders, in the bronze medal clash on Wednesday. In the other semi-final, South Korea beat Pakistan 6-5 in a thrilling contest.
Japan’s dominance over India can be gauged from the fact that they earned as many as six penalty corners in the first six minutes, two of which resulted in goals.
They secured their first penalty corner in the very first minute, which resulted in a penalty stroke and Yamada made no mistake from the spot.