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India thrash Japan in Asian Games Hockey final to clinch gold, get direct entry into Paris Olympics India-Japan
Photo Courtesy: SAI Media X page

India thrash Japan in Asian Games Hockey final to clinch gold, get direct entry into Paris Olympics

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 06 Oct 2023, 06:15 pm

Dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh's brace helped India thrash Japan 5-1 in the men's hockey final to win the gold medal at the ongoing Asian Games here on Friday.

The goals for India came in the 25th, 32nd, 36th, 48th, and 59th minutes through Manpreet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, and Abhishek. These goals ensured India getting a direct entry into the 2024 Paris Olympics.

India dominated in the first quarter and tried to get penalty corners. However, both the teams played a risk-free game. In the second quarter, India had one penalty corner but spilled it, but in the 25th minute they got their first goal through Manpreet Singh.

Down with a goal, Japan started to push hard into India's dangerous zone. Fortunately, goalkeeper PR Sreejesh saved a shot aimed at India's goalpost in 28th minute.

At half-time India led Japan 1-0.

India began the second half with aggression. They did not give any chance to Japan to foray into their circle, and six minutes into the third quarter, India bombarded two more goals, increasing the lead to 3-0 over Japan.

India went full throttle in the final quarter and added two more goals, but also conceded one to Japan through a penalty corner which they earned in the 51st minute, a testimony of India's hold over their rivals who were not allowed to barge into their circle.

In the very third minute, Vice Captain Hardik Singh passed the aerial ball from the mid field to Shamsher Singh who was inside the Japanese circle, but Abhishek failed to convert it.

Sukhjeet Singh's reverse flick in the striking circle failed to meet the goal post. High press by the Indians, who are attacking in the first quarter and trying to get Penalty Corners.

Ultimately India earned their first penalty corner in the 15th minute, but Japanese goalkeeper Takumi saved Harmanpreet Singh's dragflick and the ball rolled past the backline.

For the first time, Japan tried to enter the Indian circle through Tanaka in the 19th minute, but Harmanpreet defended it and due to the dangerous ball, the whistle went in India's favour.

Six minutes later, India scored their first goal through Manpreet Singh, but was referred and it was given in India's favour. Gurjant Singh got a green card just when India scored the goal.

Thereupon, Japan upped their pace and started to attack. India's custodian PR Sreejesh saved the ball in the 28th minute.

Two minutes into the second half, India got their second goal through Harmanpreet Singh off a penalty corner. Manpreet earned the PC after hitting Masaki's foot. Hardik pushed it to Mandeep Singh who stopped it and gave it to Harmanpreet who scored with a powerful drag flick, giving India a 2-0 lead.

In the 36th minute, India fired their third goal from yet another penalty corner through Amit Rohidas. Harmanpreet's aerial ball found Sukhjeet Singh with the Japanese near him just outside the circle before firing one into the net.

Three minutes into the final quarter, India scored a fourth goal through Abhishek after crossing and flicking it into the goal after receiving the ball from Hardik.

Japan earned their first penalty corner in the 51st minute, and converted it through Tanaka Seren, reducing the gap to 1-4 against India.

India got their fifth goal off the seventh penalty corner through Harmanpreet as Takumi Kitagawa failed to protect it, but not before Sukhjeet ran into the circle and earned it in the 59th minute.

A minute before match wound up, Japan's Kawahara Yamato received a yellow card, but to no avail as the whistle blew as India won the continental hockey tournament.

(With UNI inputs)

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