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India start Super 4 in Asia Cup 2022 with a 2-1 win against Japan

Pawan Rajbhar’s goal in the third quarter sealed the deal for India as the Men in Blue did not concede a goal from there and beat Japan 2-1.

Ritesh Pathak Author

Updated - 28 May 2022 9:03 pm

Birendra Lakra-led Indian hockey team started the Super 4 stage of the 2022 Asia Cup with a bang as they beat a better-placed Japan 2-1. The Men in Blue showed great resilience in not letting Japan through their defense. India started the first quarter on a high as Manjeet struck in the eighth minute to bring the first goal for India.

Japan made a comeback in the second quarter (18th minute) as Newa Takuma scored the equalizer on a penalty corner. However, Pawan Rajbhar’s goal in the third quarter sealed the deal for India as the Men in Blue did not concede a goal from there and beat Japan 2-1. With this win over Japan, India avenged their Pool A game defeat where they were humiliated 2-5 by Japan.

India’s defense started really well as they denied Japan a goal when the opposition secured a penalty corner as early as in the opening minute. From thereon, a relatively inexperienced Indian side grew in confidence and kept Japan at bay throughout the game. Even in the last minute, Japan were denied a chance to level the score when they secured a penalty corner in the 57th minute.

Manjeet and Pawan’s brilliance

India secured two brilliant goals, courtesy of Manjeet and Pawan Rajbhar. Manjeet made a brilliant solo run down the left flank after receiving a pass from Pawan Rajbhar and used 3D skills to perfection to beat Takashi Yoshikawa under the Japanese bar in the eighth minute to give India an opening.

After Takuma’s leveler, Pawan Rajbhar put his hands up and restored India’s lead five minutes into the second half, slotting home from close range after being set up by Uttam Singh’s brilliant stick work.

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