India beat Japan 5-0 in Asian Champions Trophy, will face Malaysia in the final

India beat Japan 5-0 in Asian Champions Trophy

CHENNAI: India produced a beautiful display of aggressive and tactical play to thrash Japan 5-0 here on Friday to enter the final of the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) hockey tournament where they will face Malaysia on Saturday. Malaysia defeated South Korea 6–2 in the first semi-final.

India thrashed Malaysia 5-0 in the round-robin league stage and will start as title favorites. Akashdeep Singh (19th), captain Harmanpreet Singh (23rd), Mandeep Singh (30th), Sumit (39th), and Selvam Karthi (51st) scored for three-time champions India. Japan had held India to a 1-1 draw in the league stage but the Indians failed to win except for the first quarter in the second semi-final on Friday.

In the first quarter, the Indian team could not openly display their aggressive attitude, but in the second quarter, they made up for it by scoring three goals in 12 minutes. Jarmanpreet Singh’s effort earned India a penalty corner in the second minute of the game but Harmanpreet’s shot was deflected wide by Japanese goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa. Shamsher Singh had to sit out for two minutes after getting a green card soon after.

India took an early lead through Akashdeep in the fourth minute of the second quarter. Hardik Singh and Sumit made this move from the right side of the circle. Hardik’s shot was blocked by the goalkeeper but the ball went straight to Akashdeep, who made no mistake in firing it home. The Indian team got a penalty corner four minutes later, which was beautifully converted by Harmanpreet. India extended their lead to 3-0 just before the interval through Mandeep’s field goal.

Mandeep deflected Manpreet Singh’s shot into the goal. In the third quarter, India created a chance early on, but did not get the benefit of it. However, the attacking attitude of the Indian team continued and in such a situation, Sumit scored a field goal and brought force on the forehead of the Japanese players.

India beat Japan 5-0 in Asian Champions Trophy

Manpreet played an important role in this goal as well. He handed the ball to Sumit whose scoop went over goalkeeper Yoshikawa and just inside the goal post. India had a chance in the 43rd minute as well but Akashdeep could not take advantage of Mandeep’s effort then. When local player Karti scored a goal in the fourth quarter, the entire stadium erupted in hue and cry.

Harmanpreet lofted it inside the circle to Sukhjeet Singh who lofted it towards Karti. Karthi cleverly changed his direction and scored a sharp shot to hand the ball over to the goal.