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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

India flick their way past Japan, face Malaysia for title in Asian Champions Trophy

Akashdeep Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Sumit Kumar and Selvam Karthi score for India

PTI Chennai Published 12.08.23, 08:47 AM
Sumit Kumar (front) rejoices with teammates after scoring in India’s 5-0 win over Japan in Chennai on Friday, setting up a final clash with Malaysia.

Sumit Kumar (front) rejoices with teammates after scoring in India’s 5-0 win over Japan in Chennai on Friday, setting up a final clash with Malaysia. PTI Photo

India will play Malaysia in the Asian Champions Trophy hockey final on Saturday after a 5-0 win over Japan in the semi-final here on Friday.

Akashdeep Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Sumit Kumar and Selvam Karthi scored for India. Entering their fourth final in the tournament, India seek a record fourth title.

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The three-time champions set the game’s pace and enjoyed the bulk of the possession, while Japan played catch-up, playing deep into their defence to thwart the home team’s attacks.

India got the first scoring chance in the form of a penalty corner but Japan goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa made a confident save to deny skipper Harmanpreet.

After a barren first quarter, India finally took the lead in the 19th minute through Akashdeep, who slapped the ball in from a rebound after Hardik Singh’s initial shot was saved.

Just at the stroke of half-time, India tripled their lead through Mandeep. But Sumit probably scored the goal of the tournament with a back stick flick into the net from a tight angle after being brilliantly set up by Manpreet from the right flank.

Earlier, Malaysia blew away defending champions South Korea 6-2 with a superlative performance to enter their maiden final.

Faizal Saari, Shello Silverious, Abu Kamal Azrai and Najmi Jazlan scored for the winners, while Woo Cheon Ji and skipper Jonghyun Jang found the back of the net for Korea.

The first quarter began on a positive note for both sides, as it took just three minutes for Korea to surge ahead, with Ji scoring a field goal.

But Malaysia did not take too long to level proceedings as in the very next minute, Azrai fired in a field goal in a solo effort to bring the deadlock
back on.

After an attack each, it was Malaysia that took the lead, as in the ninth, Jazlan scored through a penalty corner rebound.

Japan will go up against Korea in the third-fourth place playoff match on Saturday.

Consolation win

Pakistan bagged a 6-1 win over China in the fifth-place playoff encounter on Friday. Muhammad Khan and Muhammad Ammad str­uck a brace each for Pakis­tan while Abdul Shahid and Ab­dul Rana scored one apiece. Be­nhai Chen was China’s lone scorer.

Pakistan fielded mostly players, who are set to take part in the Junior World Hockey Championship as the senior team prepared for the Asian Games in Hangzhou.

Today’s matches

Final: Malaysia vs India, 8.30pm

Third place: Korea vs Japan, 6pm

Live on Star Sports Network & FanCode

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